Hume's Standard of Taste and the De Gustibus Sceptic
British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 47, pp. 16-28, 2007
13 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2020
Date Written: February 9, 2012
In 'Of the Standard of Taste' Hume aspires to silence the 'extravagant' cavils of the anything-goes de gustibus sceptic by developing a programme of aesthetic education that would lead all properly-trained individuals to a set of agreed-upon aesthetic judgements. But I argue that if we read Hume's essay as an attempted direct theoretical refutation of de gustibus scepticism, Hume fails to achieve his aim. Moreover, although some recent commentators have read the essay as aiming at a less ambitious ‘sceptical solution’ to the de gustibus challenge, I argue that this ‘sceptical solution’ reading also fails to save Hume's project. Thus the anything-goes de gustibus sceptic remains unvanquished.
Keywords: David Hume, taste, aesthetics, aesthetic skepticism
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