In fact, my theory of beauty-as-transaction squares nicely with some statements my brother made about meaning. He writes,
“Meaning” seems to hinge upon the “form/matter” relationship. If I typed gibberish–apsodinfapsioerhasperhzdv; nzpdifjapeorija opifjaopfnseprq–it has the matter (letters) without form. But this sentence is meaningful because the letters and words are arranged in such a way that they convey information. If a wave washed up stones that spelled, “Everyone should read Mere O all the time,” they would convey meaning, but only in a context where the governing laws for that sentence were understood, that is, where people understand the syntax. In other words, the rules that govern meaning are prior to, and determinitive of meaningful statements, and meaningful statements only occur within certain rules.My position on beauty is similar: the "rules" of beauty, whatever their origin (either evolved, designed, declared, or what have you) exist prior to beautiful objects, actions, or processes.
In fact, let me try to restate it using his words, and see if it coheres.
"Beauty" seems to hinge upon the "subject/object" relationship. A sunset has color and depth and form arranged in such a way that they convey beauty. If a sunset occurred on a distant planet, it could be beautiful, but only in a context where the governing laws for beauty were understood, that is, where people understand "beautiful." In other words, the rules that govern beauty are prior to, and determinant of beautiful things, and beautiful things only occur within certain rules.In my estimation, the word "people" could be generalized to "subjects," since there is no reason why an organism with senses (or a robot) couldn't also have a "theory of beauty," as some recent animal research suggests.
Where my brother and I part ways is where "meaning" and "beauty" lie: he claims they lie only in the text, or only in the object, where I see both lying in the contextual, rule-governed transaction. In other words, he sees even the rules of beauty existing independently of subjects, and I don't.
My previous aesthetic thoughts (which I think are initially consistent with what I've said here) are found here.