The Century of Taste: The Philosophical Odyssey of Taste in the Eighteenth Century

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1996 - Philosophy - 156 pages
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the focus of philosophy shifted from objective notions of beauty to the subjective concept of taste. In this book, George Dickie traces the development and decline of this mode of thought, critically evaluating the theoretical aims of five key figures in the theory of taste. Dickie looks at the work of Francis Hutcheson, whose inquiries into the origins of pleasure and displeasure led to the first systematic theory of taste. He offers critical readings of the associationist philosophies of Alexander Gerard and Archibald Allison - which he regards as "blind alleys" into which the theory of taste was diverted. He provides a critical look at Kant, placing his writings in the context of other theories of taste, and within the teleological scheme of his Third Critique. Finally, Dickie concludes with an extended study of Hume's short pamphlet, "Of the Standard of Taste", the epitome of philosophically sophisticated explorations of taste. Of interest to philosophers, aestheticians, and intellectual historians, The Century of Taste offers a clear, straightforward analysis of this crucial period in the development of modern theories of the experience of art and nature.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Francis Hutcheson
Alexander Gerard
Archibald Alison
Immanuel Kant
David Hume
6 General Evaluation

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1996)

George Dickie is at University of Illinois, Chicago.

Bibliographic information