Can there be a philosophy of taste? This paper opens by raising some metaphilosophical questions about the study of taste – what it consists of and what method we should adopt in pursuing it. It is suggested that the best starting point for philosophising about taste is against the background of 18th-century epistemology and philosophy of mind, and the conceptual tools this new philosophical paradigm entails. The notion of aesthetic taste in particular, which emerges from a growing sense of dissatisfaction with an undifferentiated category of taste, comes to be set apart from gustatory taste on account of its normativity and aspirations to objectivity. The paradox of taste, as found in Hume and Kant, is examined, and shown to be highly relevant to contemporary metaphysical debate within aesthetics. Specifically, this paper argues that both Realists and Anti-Realists rely more heavily than assumed on the idea of taste.
2009. Vol. 4