Moral prejudice and aesthetic deformity: Rereading Hume's "of the standard of taste"

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Michelle Mason Bizri
University of Minnesota
Abstract
Despite appeals to Hume in debates over moralism in art criticism, we lack an adequate account of Hume’s moralist aesthetics, as presented in “Of the Standard of Taste.” I illuminate that aesthetics by pursuing a problem, the moral prejudice dilemma, that arises from a tension between the “freedom from prejudice” Hume requires of aesthetic judges and what he says about the relevance of moral considerations to art evaluation. I disarm the dilemma by investigating the taxonomy of prejudices by which Hume justifies the true judge’s moralism. The result distinguishes Hume’s aesthetic and moral points of view while defending aesthetic moralism
Keywords David Hume  taste  aesthetics
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DOI 10.1111/0021-8529.00007
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