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Hume Of the Standard of Taste - Essay Example

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Hume Of the Standard of Taste

In this essay, I first of all, purpose to discuss what Hume proposes to be the condition for beauty. Secondly, I will demonstrate how an object can be termed as either beautiful or not, based on the proposal. In addition, I will analyze the factors that motivated this proposal by Hume, and lastly, examine whether there is sufficient reason to support Hume’s proposal. What is the condition for being beautiful? Hume is of the opinion that for something to be beautiful, then it must be able to have durability, uniformity, and generality in admiration (I.XXIII.12-13). For example, an object that has been around for many generations and withstood the criticisms leveled against it can be said to be truly beautiful. However, an object that was once considered beautiful but has since faded into history cannot be termed as beautiful since it lacks durability. In as far as general admiration is concerned; a beautiful thing tends to gain appreciation from people of multiple cultures all over the world. From Hume’s point of view, the observer’s mind must be at an ideal state of serenity and free of external hindrances and prejudice, while judging the beauty of an object (I.XXIII.11). In addition, Hume states that the observer must also pay very close attention to the object by focusing all thought on the object in order to study its finer details (I.XXIII.11). How does a beautiful object differ from one that is not beautiful? At the outset, Hume seems to agree to the fact that the beauty of an object only lies in the eyes of the observer. For example, Hume writes that a man of sense in as far as arts are concerned is more likely to differ with a man who has no sense of art, concerning the beauty of an object (I.XXIII.23). Similarly, according to Hume, a young man is more likely to consider tender and affectionate images as more beautiful (I.XXIII.30). On the other hand, Hume writes that an old man may find beauty in philosophical and wise teachings that teach on the value of life (I.XXIII.30). In Hume’s opinion, beauty can only be achieved if the human mind is free of all internal obstructions and external hindrances. Drawing form these expressions, it is clear that Hume perceives beauty as not stemming from the qualities of an object, but by the capacity of the object to stir up certain sentiments in the observer. Hume gives the example of how two of Sancho’s kinsmen were asked to give their opinion regarding the excellence of a hogshead (I.XXIII.16). Everyone knew that the wine was of superior quality, yet, when the two men tasted it, although both agreed that it was good, one noted that there was a bit of leather taste in it, while the other one noted that there was a silver taste in the wine. Hume goes on to narrate that the two men were ridiculed for their judgment, yet when the hogshead was emptied, therein lay an old key tied ton a leather thong (I.XXIII.16). In reference to this example, it is clear that although people may unanimously decide that something is beautiful; there are critics who may find flaws by carefully studying the object under observation. What is Hume’s motivation for his proposal on beauty? Firstly, Hume tends to draw his motivation for proposing that beauty is an effect on the mind from the fact that beauty is valued by everyone, while ugliness or deformity is usually a repulsive characteristic. Nonetheless, different people have different opinions regarding which objects are beautiful and which ones are not. Secondly, from Hume’ ...Show more


no. Date David Hume’s Perception of Beauty As one of the greatest philosophers, David Hume in his work “Of the Standard of Taste” attempts to come up with guidelines for the reconciliation of different sentiments among men…
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Hume Of the Standard of Taste essay example
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