David Hume- Aesthetics

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David Hume

David Hume is one of the most significant thinkers among the Enlightenment. He is motivated by the question what is beauty, and how certain responses to artwork reflect objectivity. Hume’s essay of 1757,“Of the Standard of Taste” elegantly describes examples of the tradition of aesthetic judgment The growth of scientific knowledge influenced a sense of general optimism among Enlightenment thinkers. This sense of optimism in result called for a more critical use of human intellect. By overturning long established dogmas, people scrutinized the very prerogatives of reason in relation to political and religious institutions. During this same time, theorists were trying to take account of all the various creative activities that were occurring such as poetry, music, dance, architecture, and sculpture etc. They generalized them into one category of “fine arts” or “beaux arts” assuming all activities were unified by the common function and purpose; pleasure. Hume devotes his aesthetic philosophy to describe and analyze art and taste within the field of criticism. clea

Humes essay “Standard of Taste” is divided into four major parts. First part compares the two views of artistic values. He supports the idea of common sense what it comes to judging artwork. It seems from this philosophy that no response to artwork can be wrong because personal taste varies throughout people and therefore cannot be dismissed. Hume rejects the conclusion that beauty simply equates with the sentiment of pleasure received by the object or thing. This is because he says sentiment “exists merely in the mind” which makes no individual response more superior than another. The Second stage of Humes argument

The third stage that Hume discusses in his essay (17 through 27) outlines what he believes constitutes a true judge of art and what may be required to improve ones own standard for judging art. “Strong sense, united to delicate sentiment, improved by practice,...
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