About the work …
In the first major study in Western philosophy devoted exclusively to Šsthetics, An Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, Design, Hutcheson argues that objects in the world are perceived to be beautiful by specific qualities acting upon our "inner sense" or "sense of beauty." The qualities are framed by a ratio of the uniformity and variety in the objects which form the basis of an absolute standard of beauty. Beauty, then, on this view, is simply the idea "raised" in us via our power or inner sense of receiving this idea. Our inner sense, this sense of beauty, Hutcheson argues, is independent of intellectual judgment, personal utility, volition, or association with other ideas. Ugliness, he thinks, is simply some degree of absence of harmony and uniformity of objects.
How does Hutcheson define "beauty"?
How does he distinguish between internal and external senses? What is his argument that people have a "sense of beauty"?
What is Hutcheson's distinction between relative and absolute beauty? What are some examples of absolute or "original" beauty? Is this distinction of relative and absolute beauty merely a distinction between beauty in nature and beauty in art?
How does Hutcheson relate standards of beauty to relative or comparative beauty?
Explain Hutcheson's argument concerning the relation of our perception of beauty to the role of custom or education.
In Hutcheson's view, what is the ultimate purpose of our inner sense of beauty?
Francis Hutcheson. An Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, Design. Part I of An Inquiry Into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. London: J. Barby, et. al. 1725.