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Isaac Wells

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What knowledge changes your perception of whether or not something is beautiful?

In Richard Seymour's video, 'How beauty feels', he discusses the idea of beauty. One of the particular aspects he talks about is how generally our view of something's beauty is based not on the intrinsic appearance of something, but on extrinsic interpretations or processing of it. One example he gives is a drawing that looks to be made by a small child. He asks whether or not the audience finds it beautiful. Then he proceeds to inform us that the drawing was by a little girl, just prior to her death by cancer. This drastically alters are perceptions, because it is not simply a drawing, but one layered with much more emotional meaning. My question here is what knowledge, or what kinds of knowledge, change our emotional perceptions, and thus our view of whether or not something is beautiful?

Added to this could also be questions of what is beauty (I would, at this moment, say a particular kind of emotional response to or interpretation or a thing), and what different kinds of beauty there are (because I might find the above mentioned drawing beautiful in a poignant sense, or I might find a picture of an explosion awesome, or perhaps a statue aesthetically pleasing). These questions become relevant because I would guess that different kinds of knowledge about an object or thing, evoke different kinds of beauty.

Lastly, how universal are these responses? Does everyone find the little girl's drawing beautiful after hearing that she died right afterwards? If they do, is it all in a poignant sense? I would guess that there is some universality, but also some that isn't, so what distinguishes between whether or not it would be a universal interpretation?

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