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In "Of the Standard of Taste" in Four Dissertations, Hume argues that reference to standards of taste can prove some ęsthetic preferences to be mistaken. He believes ęsthetic judgments are inductively established through experience and education: highly trained, unprejudiced, and practiced critics establish reliable standards of taste and beauty. Nevertheless, ęsthetic preferences vary to some degree with an individual's age, temperament, and culture. Hume's standard of taste is an empirical and not an į priori criterion, a point Immanuel Kant sought to remedy.
Explain the commonly held "principle of the natural equality of taste." Why does Hume believe the principle is mistaken?
According to Hume, what is the role of reason in the evaluation of purpose in the arts?
Is the quality of beauty in ęsthetic objects or is it in the feelings evoked by those objects?
Why does Hume believe the principles of taste can be thought of as universal standards? How can these principles be proved?
How does Hume think disagreements in taste should be settled?
According to Hume, what are the main reasons for variations in taste among persons of refined taste?
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature. 1739-40. Edited by L.A. Selby-Bigge, 2nd Edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975. II, iii, 3/416.
David Hume. Four Dissertations. London: A. Millar. 1757.