Hume’s Standard of Taste

  • Inês Morais


This chapter is dedicated to Hume’s most significant contribution to aesthetics and the theory of literature, his essay ‘Of the Standard of Taste’ (1757). I suggest that Hume’s exploration of the notion of a standard of taste is part of a programme akin to realism. This suggestion is based on a close reading of Hume’s essay and on argument advanced by other commentators which emphasizes that for Hume the standard of taste is discovered (as opposed to being constituted) by the ‘true judges’. Such a programme is, indeed, at odds with some of Hume’s earlier writings, but it is not incompatible with Hume’s general sentimentalism which is an epistemological doctrine concerning how (aesthetic) truths are known. My claim is that Hume’s epistemology of beauty leaves room for, and perhaps lends support to, a moderate aesthetic realism.


David Hume Sentimentalism Epistemology 

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inês Morais
    • 1
  1. 1.Croston, LancashireUK

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