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Why does it always seem that inner beauty, or beauty in personality and

Why does it always seem that inner beauty, or beauty in personality and character is more often believed to be more beautiful than just outer beauty? As such, you will hear people saying, "I'd rather have an ugly wife with a beautiful soul than a gorgeous woman with an ugly soul?" Should this kind of attitude towards beauty be followed?

It doesn't look that way to me!

OK, seriously, then...

I think we are doing just a little bit of apples and oranges here. I would certainly rather spend the rest of my life with someone who was decent and kind and patient and nururing and... (we can see where this is going), than someone who was all of the opposites of these, but physically attractive. But I don't think this is correctly depicted as an "attitude towards beauty." Good ethical/moral/social characteristics can make someone attractive in these ways (ethically/morally/socially), but do not make someone attractive in that way (physically). So if we must talk about "inner" and "outer" beauty, then let's be clear that we are talking about two completely distinct qualities or characteristics, and these qualities are not really commensurable--each has its own value and counts as more important in some areas of endeavor. Physical attractiveness has been shown to be a significant benefit in career advancement, social success, and is obviously advantageous in the area of opportunities in finding a mate. People who are physically attractive and generally also seen to be more intelligent, more successful, and generally better in every way in which we all try to do well. Having a "beautiful soul" is a great advantage in some ways, but doesn't do all that well in a job interview or at the local bar on Friday night.

What does seems to be right here is something that I will try not to overstate, because the platitudes about the greater beauty of "inner" beauty always seem to me to overstate the case. But I do think that something interesting does happen when we identify someone else as having "inner beauty," and that is that whatever physical defects they may have deem to become less important (even to the point of invisibility), and we may also found ourselves becoming more attracted to such a person (physically) than we were at first glance. People in long-term relationships typically get to the point where they would actually find it difficult to appraise (as if at first glance) the "objective" attractiveness of their partners, because such a judgment becomes inseparable from the whole picture of that partner and his or her role in their partner's life. In other words, long-term, it is the "inner" beauty that comes to matter in a relationship, and this can actually have some influence over the way we respond to whatever the "outer" may present.

It doesn't look that way to me! OK, seriously, then... I think we are doing just a little bit of apples and oranges here. I would certainly rather spend the rest of my life with someone who was decent and kind and patient and nururing and... (we can see where this is going), than someone who was all of the opposites of these, but physically attractive. But I don't think this is correctly depicted as an "attitude towards beauty." Good ethical/moral/social characteristics can make someone attractive in these ways (ethically/morally/socially), but do not make someone attractive in that way (physically). So if we must talk about "inner" and "outer" beauty, then let's be clear that we are talking about two completely distinct qualities or characteristics, and these qualities are not really commensurable--each has its own value and counts as more important in some areas of endeavor. Physical attractiveness has been shown to be a significant benefit in career advancement, social success,...

I hear people look at a woman from a distance and exclaim "She is beautiful". I

I hear people look at a woman from a distance and exclaim "She is beautiful". I did that myself before. But my experience in relationships with women leaves me with a big question. Is beauty visible? Or what makes a thing beautiful?

Good looks are visible, of course--or else we wouldn't call them "looks." So, looking at a perfect stranger and declaring that person "beautiful" seems to me obviously to be a judgment about how the person looks. Looks are, however, just one aspect of a person that can be beautiful, and as the old saying goes, that sort of beauty is "only skin deep." Unfortunately, a lot of good-looking people are not very beautiful in any way other than the way they look.

Remember the movie, "A Beautiful Mind"? I think some minds are beautiful, but obviously that judgment can't be about how the minds look--it would seem to be more about how they work. I also think that people can have beautiful characters, or other beautiful traits or qualities.

It seems plausible to think that there might be some beautiful traits or qualities that are really more important or valuable than others, where good looks will be found to be relatively less important than some other characteristics a person has, which are beautiful. Each sort of beauty, then, would be an example of excellence in the relevant comparison area--so a beautiful mind would be a mind that was excellent at doing the best things that minds do (rather than the worst things). Good looks are excellence in visual appearance. Everyone responds to the way things appear--but we also quickly revise our first impressions (if we are intelligent, that is), and good looks are, after all, very superficial as a form of excellence. Excellence of character seems to me to have more "thickness" or lasting value.

The ancient Greeks had a saying that I love: "chalepa ta kala," which means roughly, "beautiful things (ta kala) are difficult." I think this is a valuable insight. Good looks are fairly common. To be truly beautiful, then, is a rare achievement, and the result of achieving what is difficult, such as becoming a person of excellent character or judgment.

Good looks are visible, of course--or else we wouldn't call them "looks." So, looking at a perfect stranger and declaring that person "beautiful" seems to me obviously to be a judgment about how the person looks . Looks are, however, just one aspect of a person that can be beautiful, and as the old saying goes, that sort of beauty is "only skin deep." Unfortunately, a lot of good-looking people are not very beautiful in any way other than the way they look. Remember the movie, "A Beautiful Mind"? I think some minds are beautiful, but obviously that judgment can't be about how the minds look --it would seem to be more about how they work . I also think that people can have beautiful characters , or other beautiful traits or qualities. It seems plausible to think that there might be some beautiful traits or qualities that are really more important or valuable than others, where good looks will be found to be relatively less important than some other characteristics a...