Beauty Before the Eyes of Others

In Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics. Fribourg: The European Society for Aesthetics. pp. 164-176 (2016)
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Abstract
This paper pursues the philosophical significance of a relatively unexplored point of Platonic aesthetics: the social dimension of beauty. The social dimension of beauty resides in its conceptual connection to shame and honour. This dimension of beauty is fundamental to the aesthetic education of the Republic, as becoming virtuous for Plato presupposes a desire to appear and to be admired as beautiful. The ethical significance of beauty, shame, and honour redound to an ethically rich notion of appearing before others which corresponds to a public conception of virtue. I suggest how this dimension of beauty in Plato – particularly the emphasis on beautification – proves fruitful for reconsidering the scope and the nature of aesthetic experience.
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