True Beauty

British Journal of Aesthetics (forthcoming)
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What is the nature of the concept BEAUTY? Does it differ fundamentally from nearby concepts such as PRETTINESS? It is argued that BEAUTY, but not PRETTINESS, is a dual-character concept. Across a number of contexts, it is proposed that BEAUTY has a descriptive sense that is characterised by, inter alia, having intrinsically pleasing appearances; and a normative sense associated with deeply-held values. This account is supported across two, pre-registered, studies (N=500), and by drawing on analysis of corpus data. It is suggested that this can help to explain why beauty, unlike prettiness, is thought to be deep in both the sense of being important, and in the sense of being less closely tied to sensory surfaces.

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Ryan P. Doran
Universitat de Barcelona


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