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Philosophy: Beauty is not Morality

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Throughout history, beauty has been seen as a value to humans. Beauty practices start as far back as foot binding and continues up to today with cosmetic surgeries such as liposuction. On every billboard, magazine, and commercial citizens are reminded that they are not as physically attractive as they could be and there is a solutions to their problem. In his analysis of beauty, Kant states that beauty is morality. Despite the fact physical beauty is highly valued in society, it is not the driving factor when it comes to determining morality and making ethical judgments. To support this, I will be introducing Aristotle’s virtue ethics and David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature to demonstrate that beauty is independent of virtue and does not influence morality as it is not considered when discussing morality.
Kant argues that beauty is equivalent to morality. He states, “The beautiful pleases immediately, disinterestedly, as the result of freedom of the imagination, and with universal validity. Virtuous motivation pleases immediately although independently of any antecedent interest, on the basis of a free employment of intellectual faculties, and with universal validity.” Assuming Kant is referring to physical beauty, Kant explains that beauty is something that is objective to all as it pleases and provides freedom to humans. He further explains that virtue is same in giving pleasure giving human intellectual freedom, and compares beauty and virtue by claiming they are parallel. He believes beauty has an impact on moral decisions and defines this as the groundwork of morality. While Kant defends this idea, Aristotle and Hume disagrees with Kant, stating that a virtue is morality, beauty is not a virtue, therefore beauty is n...

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...y. Aristotle’s and David Hume’s disprove Kant’s argument. Aristotle states that virtue is only defined by the state of the character determined by an individual’s actions only, proving beauty can’t be virtue. Aristotle continues his argument stating that virtue is not only action but taking responsibility for those actions, good and bad. David Hume supports Aristotle’s point that virtue is determined by a character’s actions as well as the satisfactions others receive from these actions but does not state that a lack of satisfaction with someone’s physical appearance means they are immoral as beauty is not an action that can be satisfied, justifying that beauty is not a virtue. Hume and Aristotle agree that virtue helps differentiate what is moral and immoral but beauty is independent of virtue which concludes that beauty is not a part or an influence on morality.
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