I have yet read any good modern things on the philosophy of ugliness. Some of my unfiltered thoughts.
The ugly as the fear-inducing
‘Uggr‘– Old Norse for the word of fear and apprehension. Thus first theory:
The physiological notion of ugliness in humans — that which is fear-inducing in us is ugly.
I did a bit poking around on Wikipedia for Ugliness, and came across this picture. When people say that beauty and ugliness is subjective … I think not. If anyone thinks that image [The Ugly Duchess] is beautiful might have some sort of physiological defect. Also note this sketch by Leonardo da Vinci. You can see the mystery here. Also here is a link to the original painting by Quinten Massys.
The ugly (in terms of human physiology) as an indicator of disease?
Nobody has control how they were born. So it is quite sad, if you were born with a disease like Paget’s disease of bone (apparently the Ugly Duchess painting was in-fact, not a ‘fake’ painting… but a true painting of a real woman).
Thus one of my first theories about when we see humans who are ugly:
We see them as unfit for begetting children with.
Why? We humans are good at spotting physiological ‘deformities’. If we see someone with an outwardly “grotesque” physical appearance, perhaps it is just the human body’s reaction to seeing another human being with a disease, and seeing the disease as bad. From a human biological perspective, it makes sense.