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David Hume's Of The Standard Of Taste

646 words - 3 pages

Introduction
Aesthetics is, to put it simply, the study of art, beauty, and judgments thereof. As society tends to not view art as a functional endeavour, this branch of study may seem pointless; in fact a well-known aesthete and self-proclaimed Professor of Aesthetics, Oscar Wilde, stated “All art is quite useless.” However, this sentence is misleading, and the same man also said "Aestheticism is a search after the signs of the beautiful. It is the science of the beautiful through which men seek the correlation of the arts. It is, to speak more exactly, the search after the secret of life." Now, that sounds more interesting and important than the study of a “useless” topic, and whether the study of aesthetics serves a blatantly “functional” role in our lives or not, it certainly appeals to our humanity, our common sense of beauty and capacity for aesthetic experience, and can potentially deepen our understanding of this phenomena that has been around since the dawn of man.
To explain it in a less broad and lofty manner, aesthetics asks questions along the lines of “what is art?”, “What makes something beautiful?”, and more specific themes such as how art and morality are related (or if they are at all), the role of art in society, and of course, if art should be practical or “quite useless”. Another matter that is more obviously practical to solve is the question of aesthetic judgment, the ability to ascertain if art is good or bad. The main reason this is important to consider is that art is a business like any other, and artwork of all sorts is bought and sold and is how an artist makes a living: so if the role of critic was not executed properly, people would be spending their money on low-quality art and high-quality art may go cheaper than it is worth, which is detrimental to the artist, or may never be publicised, which is...

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