Notes on Taste

[Last updated 26. February 2024]

Everyone you know is writing the same blog posts about taste.

Jasmine Sun: “Ten alternatives to having good taste

Brie Wolfson — Notes on “Taste” §

To quote Susan Sontag again, ‘There is taste in people, visual taste, taste in emotion — and there is taste in acts, taste in morality. Intelligence, as well, is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas. One of the facts to be reckoned with is that taste tends to develop very unevenly. It’s rare that the same person has good visual taste and good taste in people and taste in ideas.’

Taste in too many things would be tortuous. The things we have taste in often start as a pea under the mattress. To have taste is to be persnickety and one doesn’t want to be persnickety or annoyed about too many things.

Brie Wolfson: “Notes on ‘Taste’

Still, taste is closely intertwined with snobbery. And indeed, many snobs (coffee snobs, gear snobs, wine snobs, etc.) often have great taste. But I would say that taste is the sensibility, and snobbery is one way to express the sensibility.

Six Platitudes on Beauty §

(i) Beauty pleases us.

(ii) One thing can be more beautiful than another.

(iii) Beauty is always a reason for attending to the thing that possesses it.

(iv) Beauty is the subject-matter of a judgement: the judgement of taste.

(v) The judgement of taste is about the beautiful object, not about the subject’s state of mind. In describing an object as beautiful, I am describing it, not me.

(vi) Nevertheless, there are no second-hand judgements of beauty. There is no way that you can argue me into a judgement that I have not made for myself, nor can I become an expert in beauty, simply by studying what others have said about beautiful objects, and without experiencing and judging for myself.

Scruton, 2011: “Beauty: A Very Short Introduction”, p. 5