Skip to main content

How to Be a Moral Taste Theorist

12 February 2016


In this paper, I attempt to recover an 18th Century approach to moral theory that can be called Moral Taste Theory. Through an exploration of 18th Century sources I define the characteristics of moral taste theory and to distinguish it from its closest rival, moral sense theory. In general a moral taste theorist holds that moral judgments are analogous to aesthetic judgments while a moral sense theorist holds that moral judgments are analogous to physical sense perception. Francis Hutcheson was a paradigmatic moral sense theorist, but I argue that David Hume is best understood as a moral taste theorist. If we do not understand the concept of moral taste, we cannot understand 18th Century moral philosophy, and, more importantly, we will miss out on an important source of inspiration for 21st Century moral philosophy.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
Main File
18 Mar 2020
212 kB