Hume's "of the Standard of Taste": 20 Key Concepts

David Hume's "Of the Standard of Taste" is a philosophical essay in which Hume discusses the concept of beauty and taste. Hume argues that the ability to judge beauty is not a matter of reason, but rather a matter of taste. He also discusses the role of simplicity and grandeur in the creation of beauty, stating that these two principles should be balanced in order to achieve true beauty. Hume's essay is notable for its exploration of the subjectivity of taste and its implications for aesthetics.
  1. The Standard of Taste: Hume asserts that there is a "standard of taste" that allows individuals to judge the beauty and merit of different works of art. This standard is based on the principles of "utility, propriety, and agreeableness," which are universal and inherent in human nature.
  2. The Role of Experience: Hume argues that experience plays a crucial role in shaping our taste and understanding of beauty. He suggests that exposure to a wide range of works of art helps us to develop a more refined and discerning taste.
  3. The Role of Imagination: Hume believes that the imagination is a key factor in our appreciation of beauty. He argues that the imagination allows us to create associations and connections between different ideas and sensations, which helps us to understand and appreciate the beauty of a work of art.
  4. The Role of Passion: Hume argues that passion and emotion play a significant role in our appreciation of beauty. He suggests that works of art that are able to stir strong emotions in the viewer are more likely to be considered beautiful.
  5. The Role of Education: Hume believes that education and learning can help to refine and improve our taste in art. He suggests that learning about different styles, techniques, and cultural contexts can help us to understand and appreciate different works of art.
  6. The Role of Fashion: Hume acknowledges that fashion and trends can influence our perception of beauty. He suggests that works of art that are popular or fashionable at a given time may be considered more beautiful than those that are not.
  7. The Role of Custom: Hume argues that custom and habit can also influence our perception of beauty. He suggests that we are more likely to appreciate works of art that are familiar to us and that we have been exposed to frequently.
  8. The Role of Criticism: Hume believes that criticism plays a vital role in the evaluation of beauty. He suggests that criticism can help us to better understand and appreciate different works of art by providing insight and analysis.
  9. The Role of Genius: Hume argues that genius is a key factor in the creation of great works of art. He suggests that genius is an innate talent or ability that allows an individual to create works of art that are original and innovative. The Role of Nature: Hume believes that nature is a key source of beauty and inspiration for artists. He suggests that artists who are able to capture the beauty and complexity of nature in their work are more likely to be considered great.
  10. The Role of Simplicity: Hume argues that simplicity is an important principle in the creation of beautiful works of art. He suggests that works of art that are able to convey their message or idea in a simple and straightforward manner are more likely to be considered beautiful.
  11. The Role of Variety: Hume believes that variety is also an important principle in the creation of beautiful works of art. He suggests that works of art that are able to incorporate a range of different elements and techniques are more likely to be considered beautiful.
  12. The Role of Proportion: Hume argues that proportion is a key principle in the creation of beautiful works of art. He suggests that works of art that are well balanced and harmonious in their proportions are more likely to be considered beautiful.
  13. The Role of Unity: Hume believes that unity is an important principle in the creation of beautiful works of art. He suggests that works of art that are able to convey a sense of cohesiveness and unity are more likely to be considered beautiful.
  14. The Role of Simplicity and Grandeur: Hume argues that simplicity and grandeur are two important principles that should be balanced in the creation of beautiful art. Simplicity refers to the use of clear, uncomplicated forms and ideas in the work, while grandeur refers to the sense of majesty and grandness that is achieved through the use of strong, bold elements. Hume believes that a balance between these two principles is essential for creating truly beautiful art, as too much simplicity can lead to a lack of depth and interest, while too much grandeur can be overwhelming and distracting. In terms of literature, this means that writers should aim to create works that are both clear and straightforward in their language and ideas, while also incorporating elements of grandeur and majesty through the use of descriptive language and powerful imagery. By finding the right balance between simplicity and grandeur, writers can create works that are both accessible and engaging for their readers.
  15. The Role of Utility: Hume also believes that the utility of a work of art is an important factor in determining its beauty. A work that is useful or practical in some way is generally seen as more beautiful than one that serves no practical purpose. This means that, in addition to the other principles discussed above, writers should also consider the practical value of their work when trying to create something beautiful.
  16. The Role of Custom and Fashion: Hume notes that custom and fashion play a significant role in our perception of beauty, as what is considered beautiful changes over time and varies from culture to culture. He believes that, while there may be some universal principles of beauty that apply to all people and cultures, our perception of beauty is largely shaped by the customs and fashions of the society in which we live.
  17. The Role of the Sublime: Hume also discusses the concept of the sublime, which refers to an overwhelming sense of awe and grandeur that is often associated with nature and the universe. He argues that the sublime is an important element of beauty, as it helps to elevate the human spirit and bring us closer to a sense of the divine.
  18. The Role of Originality: Finally, Hume notes that originality is an important factor in determining the beauty of a work of art. A work that is truly original and innovative is generally seen as more beautiful than one that simply copies or imitates existing ideas or styles. This means that writers should strive to be creative and original in their work, rather than simply repeating what has already been done.
  19. The Role of Passion and Emotion: Hume also emphasizes the importance of passion and emotion in the creation of beautiful art. He believes that works that are able to evoke strong emotions in their audience are generally more beautiful than those that are more muted or neutral in their emotional impact. This means that writers should strive to create works that are able to engage the emotions of their readers, rather than simply presenting dry, intellectual ideas.

      Attend our free course: Literary Criticism II Syllabus

      Related Posts

Post a Comment

Cookie Consent
We serve cookies on this site to analyze traffic, remember your preferences, and optimize your experience.
Oops!
It seems there is something wrong with your internet connection. Please connect to the internet and start browsing again.
AdBlock Detected!
We have detected that you are using adblocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website, we request you to whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.
Site is Blocked
Sorry! This site is not available in your country.