Beauty in Cultural Context

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Between individual feelings of pleasure in the beautiful and objective properties of the beautiful object, there is also the question of the cultural contexts in which we cultivate our tastes.  The first time I saw Tibetan opera it was culturally interesting but not particularly beautiful.  But after several years of living with Tibetans in northern India, regularly hearing Tibetan music, and seeing many hours of traditional opera, I did find it both entertaining and more and more moving and beautiful.  Does one have to enter into another culture to appreciate its aesthetic productions and find them beautiful?  Do some manifestations of beauty just take more time to appreciate than others?  What is the relationship between beauty and cultural contexts?

– William Edelglass

Philosophy Professor

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