- Does Hume find a standard of taste for art? Do you agree with Hume that certain people are in better position to make value judgements about the quality of works of art? How important is his claim to his account?
Hume’s "Of the Standard of Taste" wrestles with the objectivity of judgement of taste.
The standard of taste judged by its best critics comes from his idea of drawing a distinction between the subjective and the objective.
Common sense dictates that aesthetic taste is subjective but common sense also dictates that some works of art are objectively better than others, to Hume this a distinct paradox, both cannot be true.
Hume argues that much that is apparently athestic is based on a linguistic falsehood, that everyone might agree that beauty is good but cannot select beautiful objects, there is no standard it appears that some people just agtee in matters of taste as they share the same views on commendation and condemnation.
Beauty is literally in the eye of the beholder and not in external objects. Beauty is a feeling, it’s not something woven into the fabric of art but something we add to the art, a meaning we tack on.
Sentiments of beauty are internal to the subject, we talk about our own individual feelings of beauty but cannot challenge others views on that because they’re subjective.
The problem with this natural equality of tastes is that we want to be able to discount others peoples opinion on artwork, we have a tendency to say that some people art tastes are ridiculous and then rationalize this behaviour by referencing a standard of taste.
This obviously makes no sense in terms of the fact we just established that they’re entirely subjective.
Hume basis for taste of art is related in pleasure given so if one art gives more pleasure than another than it is higher in standard than one that gives less pleasure but as I’ve just established we can say that some peoples opinion on art are wrong, so even though they believe one art gives more pleasure than another we don’t necessarily trust them.
The standard of taste in a nut shell is a way of defining whose taste is worth knowing and whose taste is not.
Hume dictates that our pleasures are not entirely random but are governed by rules, when a rule is made of a normal response to a given stimuli in a predictable that produces pleasure it can be then used as a basis for recommendation, in other words, if something like eating ice cream always leads to pleasure then that is something you can safely recommend to someone as something they will gain pleasure from.
Some rules dictating pleasure state that there are certain things that only a small number of people will enjoy, not everyone likes the same books or music.
What Hume is implying is that the majority of people aren’t ‘delicate’ enough to notice and enjoy certain art forms. Their artistic tastes are too crude to base your recommendations on their opinions of comparing arts.
Hume then implies these people with crude tastes may not have sufficiently educated tastes; tastes of art according to Hume are cultivated by education and practice. People who do not read books often will likely get bored quickly. I think this can be true when encountering art forms you’re not accustomed to.
Despite education as a factor not all people are capable of noticing some of the elements that are crucial to the experience, if you are incapable of perceiving what is in an a piece of art you are not in a good position to pose a recommendation to others. I think this is a little snobbish, because really there is no elite class of art because art is subjective and about emotions and everyone feels emotion so are equally as equipped to judge how a piece of art makes them feel.
- What are the conditions of the experience of beauty for Kant? And please explain in what ways Kant’s philosophy of art is differentiated from that of Hume?
Kant's aesthetic theory is called; "reflective judgment." what we call "beauty" is a response to a piece of art as opposed to something innate to the piece of art. Kant felt that far from being passive viewing a good piece of art was a stimulating activity."Judgment of taste" for Kant are four defining characteristics of taste.1. Quality. This is a disinterested interest as in the judgement on the art is completely objective and without bias or personal self interest, for example blind taste tests.This quality of the judgment keeps it from being merely circumstancial, if I were to judge a cooking contest in which I hadn’t eaten in a while that would not be disinterested. The interest is contemplative and involves satisfaction gained with no reference to the person making the judgements own desire. The painting of the woman is not beautiful because I find her attractive but because of the quality of the artistry involved. Nor is the painting beautiful because it replicates something in real life or is incredible accurate or even if the painting promote morale goodness because that has no reflection on it’s actual quality or beauty.
2 and 3. Universality and Necessity. This refers to how much we’re agreed with.
Like Hume Kant states that people often say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but we turn around and criticise people for their view on art as if we don’t believe that at all. Kant believes that if a universal standard of taste we must also have some form of universal definition of art so that we can judge each piece of art accordingly. Kant stipulates then that beauty must be some property that belongs to the artwork like taste or colour or smell whereas Hume says the complete opposite, stating that beauty is internalized by the person viewing the artwork.
Necessity means that it is necessary to make such judgments of beauty if we are to have some understanding or concept of it.
4. Purposive without purpose.
An object has a purpose, it has a concept of how it is used i.e a fork is used for eating. Aesthetic objects seem to have a purpose but we struggle to properly define what in fact that purpose is.
Kant doesn’t necessarily believe that there can be a true art that is incapable of reaching everyone, people who live on the other side of the world have no idea television programs or popular music.
Art to Kant conveys the loftiest feeling conveyed by religion it is not a whore used soley for pleasure. Art can only be art when it introduces a new feeling, pleasure is as old as time, Kant establishes the difference between amusement and art is that amusement gets boring.
The aim of art, for Kant, is beauty, the source of which is pleasure without practical usefulness. So that art may be called play, though not in the sense of a worthless occupation, but in the sense of a manifestation of beauty of life itself, which has no other aim.
Atalay, M. (2007) Kant’s Aesthetic Theory: Subjectivity vs. Universal Validity
Carrol, N. (1984) Hume's Standard of Taste
(2013) The Aesthetic Dimension between the subject and the object