By tracing the concept of beauty as an epistemic move toward sensibility and embodied experience, this article provides a survey in which beauty appears to have disturbed rather than stabilized the philosophical field of aesthetics. On the other hand, the enduring ability to disturb philosophical thought is exactly what testifies to beauty’s conceptually dynamic and vital role in aesthetics. The troubling consequences of the concept ‘beauty’ are discussed in five centennial tableaus that accentuate mutually conflictual aspects: sensitive beauty in the eighteenth century, idealistic beauty in the nineteenth century, sublime beauty in the twentieth century, and appearing beauty in the twenty-first century. This outline of changing conceptions of beauty throughout the history of aesthetic philosophy entails questions about the distinction between the aesthetic and the artistic, as well as it addresses the relationship between art and nature in a new fashion.
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