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Volume 8 Issue 1 (April 2000), Pages 1-138

The True Judge of Beauty and the Paradox of Taste (pages 1-19)

This paper addresses two key works in the eighteenth‐century debate on the problem of taste: the Abbé Du Bos's Réflexions critiques sur la poésie et sur la peinture (1719) and David Hume's ‘Of the Standard of Taste’ (1757). A successful solution to the ‘paradox of taste’ should sustain the democratising impulse behind Du Bos's appeal to the judgment of the ‘public’ whilst, at the same time, acknowledging the role of learning and discovery which underpins Hume's recourse to the opinion of the best qualified critics. This can be achieved, it is argued, by taking up a standpoint which is internal to our actual arguments or disputes about art, drawing upon and recommending a set of practices which allow for the development and revision of our judgments about works of art.

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