|Abstract||These claims strike some philosophers as obviously false. “Hume’s confident assertions about the unobservability of beauty are breathtakingly counter-intuitive,” David McNaughton writes. “We see the beauty of a sunset; we hear the melodiousness of a tune; we taste and smell the delicate nuances of a vintage wine. Hume’s denial that we can detect beauty by the senses flies in the face of common experience” (McNaughton, 1988, p. 55). Understood as a phenomenological claim, this seems obviously correct—so obviously that one should doubt whether Hume meant to be denying it. Surely when we find something beautiful, delicious, or even virtuous, we experience this as a matter of sensitivity to the observed object: the sunset, the wine, the person. But what kind of sensitivity is this? McNaughton intends to make a theoretical as well as a phenomenological objection to Hume; he claims that there is no difference in kind between the perception of value and other, more straightforward forms of perception|
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