Why believe p? Because it is true. Why want x? Because it is good. Why look at y? Because it is beautiful. In some way, philosophers have argued, those answers are on a par: each brings a state of mind into the ambit of reason, by connecting it to something that it is in our nature, as rational beings, to pursue. Someone who asked ‘why believe what is true?’ or ‘why want what is good?’ has failed to understand the nature of reasoning. He doesn’t see that, if we are to justify our beliefs and desires at all, then our reasons must be anchored in the true and the good.
Does the same go for beauty? If someone asks me ‘why are you interested in x?’ is ‘because it is beautiful’ a ﬁnal answer—one that is immune to counter-argument, like the answers ‘because it is good’, and ‘because it is true’? To say as much is to overlook the subversive nature of beauty. Someone charmed by a myth may be tempted to believe it: and in this case beauty is the enemy of truth. A man attracted to a woman may be tempted to condone her vices: and in this case beauty is the enemy of goodness. Goodness and truth never compete, we assume, and the pursuit of the one is always compatible with a proper respect for the other. The pursuit of beauty, however, is far more questionable.
– Roger Scruton, Beauty (2009)