Volume 1, 2018
Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner
In this paper, I wish to put forward some aspects of the ethical relevance of two concepts of formal beauty today, which are of particular relevance for music and architecture, as these two arts are mainly non-representational. What concern me here are the two formal concepts of beauty, which correspond to two types of numerical ratios, the harmonic ratio and the ratio of self-similarity. In the Pythagorean and Platonic tradition these ratios have been explained by reference to perfect ratios which exist in some other worldly realm. Many people today, including myself, no longer find such an explanation as plausible. Consequently, I am putting forward an evolutionary account of the relevance of these ratios whereby their ethical importance reveals itself. In this way the ethical relevance of these two concepts of formal beauty - when they turn up in works of art - also becomes clear. My analysis does not aim to present the final answer to the question of formal concepts of beauty, but hopes to be a basis for further discussions and investigations.