Topics Worth Investigating

  1. The essays in this reading are sometimes cited as having an influence on David Hume's Of the Standard of Taste. Specifically, which of Addison's points influenced Hume thoughts on taste?

  2. Addison's series of articles on the pleasures of the imagination is often cited as the dawn of modern ęsthetic theory. Prior to the publication of these essays in The Spectator in 1712, little sustained thought on ęsthetics had been forthcoming in Western literature. Do you think the rise of the middle class and the resulting increase in leisure activities can be historically and economically associated with the development of modern ęsthetics?

  3. Explain what Addison means when he writes loathsome and offensive objects might still bring a kind of delight if the qualities of greatness, novelty, and beauty are present.

  4. Addison writes in essay 411:

    [We] immediately assent to the Beauty of an Object, without enquiring into the particular Causes and Occasions of it.

    Discuss whether or not beauty is a primary or a secondary quality for him.