The volume The Many Faces of Beauty joins the rich debate on beauty and aesthetic theory by presenting an ambitious,
interdisciplinary examination of various facets of beauty in nature and human society. The contributors ask such questions as, Is there beauty in mathematical theories? What is the function of arts in the economy of cultures? What are the main steps in the historical evolution of aesthetic theories from ancient civilizations to the present? What is the function of the ugly in enhancing the expressivity of art? and What constitutes beauty in film?
The sixteen essays, by eminent scientists, critics, scholars, and artists, are divided into five parts. In the first, a mathematician, physicist, and two philosophers address beauty in mathematics and nature. In the second, an anthropologist, psychologist, historian of law, and economist address the place of beauty in the human mind and in society. Explicit philosophical reflections on notoriously vexing issues, such as the historicity of aesthetics itself, interculturality, and the place of the ugly, are themes of the third part. In the fourth, practicing artists discuss beauty in painting, music, poetry, and film. The final essay, by a theologian, reflects on the relation between beauty and God.