About the work …
In his essay "On Taste," an introduction to the second edition of his A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas on the Sublime and the Beautiful, Burke argues for the uniformity of taste among persons on the basis of sensibility—not on the basis of judgment as Hume had done in his essay on taste. His Enquiry was widely read during the late 1700's. In the essay, Burke utilizes the empiricism of Locke to conclude that the imagination (or the "fancy") cannot produce new ideas; instead, the imagination represents perceptual images either accurately or in new combinations. The pleasures arising from novel similarities in art, Burke thinks, are a matter of a taste common to all men, even though ęsthetic appreciation can be enhanced through knowledge and experience. In sum, for Burke, the logic of taste is often less controvertible than the logic of reason. Burke's influence is not so much in his originality as it is in the sensationalist ęsthetics characteristic of eighteenth century English and French writers. Where Burke does prove original, however, is in his romantic refashioning of Longinus's classical analysis of the sublime.
Why does Burke think a logic of taste has not been systematized whereas the logic of reason has been systematized?
How does Burke define "taste"?
What is Burke's argument that the pleasures of the senses are similar for all persons?
How does Burke distinguish between imagination and judgment?
According to Burke, how do differences in critical taste arise?
How does Burke define taste?
According to Burke what causes a person to have poor taste? What are the causes of good taste?
How does Burke account for the different ęsthetic effects of a work of art on different persons?
Why does Burke believe taste is not a unique faculty?
What is Burke's main distinction between beauty and the sublime?
Edmund Burke. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas on the Sublime and the Beautiful. 2nd Edition. 1759.
David Hume. "Of the Standard of Taste." In Four Dissertations. London: A. Millar. 1757.