Value and value-response stand at the center of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s thought, and for him value, in distinction to traditional concepts of good, has an aspect of beauty. The value of a being comprises a certain splendor of the being. In this way the theme of beauty is present throughout his philosophy. For example, it underlies his philosophy of the heart, for the deepest stirrings of the heart respond to the beauty of things.

Hildebrand also took very seriously the beauty found in nature and in art, and especially in music. He gave particular philosophical attention to the "intimations of immortality" that he discerned in those aesthetic objects in which the beauty seems not to emanate from the objects themselves  but to "descend from above" and to rest on it as on a pedestal.

Hildebrand was passionately convinced that the experience of beauty is not a luxury but a spiritual necessity for the human person. He deplored the tendency of utilitarian civilization to organize human life with little regard for beauty, which he thought has the effect of suffocating the spirit.

“Even our soul itself becomes more beautiful when beauty meets us, takes hold of us, and fires us with enthusiasm.”
From Aesthetics

Recommended Reading

See Also

Aesthetics Volume I

Dietrich von Hildebrand understood the centrality of beauty not merely to art but to philosophy, theology, and ethics. In his ambitious and comprehensive Aesthetics, now translated into English for the first time, Hildebrand rehabilitates the concept of beauty as an objective rather and purely subjective phenomenon. His systematic account renews the Classical and Christian vision of beauty as a reliable mode of perception that leads humanity toward the true, the good, and ultimately the divine. There is no more important issue in our culture--sacred or secular--than the restoration of beauty. And there is no better place to start this urgent enterprise than Dietrich von Hildebrand's Aesthetics. - Dana Gioia | From the Foreword

Topics:Beauty  •  Truth  •  Subjectivity  •  Objectivity  •  Value  •  Art

Mozart Beethoven Schubert

Dietrich von Hildebrand, touched by great musical works at a young age, analyzes the intellectual portrait of the musical genius. Using rich examples, Hildebrand examines the metaphysical background and meaning of these composers that contributes to their lasting greatness. 

Topics:Mozart  •  Schubert  •  Beethoven  •  music  •  Aesthetics

Beauty in the Light of Redemption

This essay presents Dietrich von Hildebrand's thoughts on beauty, in a succinct distillation. It was originally published in the collection The New Tower of Babel

The Dietrich von Hildebrand LifeGuide

South Bend: Saint Augustine's Press, 2007. Ed. Jules van Schaijik