1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Absolutism

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ABSOLUTISM, in aesthetics, a term applied to the theory that beauty is an objective attribute of things, not merely a subjective feeling of pleasure in him who perceives. It follows that there is an absolute standard of the beautiful by which all objects can be judged. The fact that, in practice, the judgments even of connoisseurs are perpetually at variance, and that the so-called criteria of one place or period are more or less opposed to those of all others, is explained away by the hypothesis that individuals are differently gifted in respect of the capacity to appreciate. (See Aesthetics.)

In political philosophy absolutism, as opposed to constitutional government, is the despotic rule of a sovereign unrestrained by laws and based directly upon force. In the strict sense such governments are rare, but it is customary to apply the term to a state at a relatively backward stage of constitutional development.