History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (4):389 - 408 (2009)

Margaret Watkins
Saint Vincent College
This article argues that Hume's brief essay, "Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion," offers resources for three claims: (1) Delicate taste correlates with self-sufficiency and thus with a particularly Humean form of Magnanimity -- greatness of mind; (2) Delicate taste improves the capacity for profound friendships, characterized by mutual admiration and true compassion; and (3) magnanimity and compassion are thus not necessarily in tension with one another and may even proceed from and support harmony of character. These claims, in turn, provide reasons to take seriously Hume's view that moral character depends, in part, on aesthetic character.
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