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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Eighteenth-century authors did not reduce the proper objects for taste or as we now say aesthetic judgment to a single and simple property of beauty; on the contrary, over the course of the century an extensive list of distinguishable aesthetic properties or sources of the pleasures of the imagination was developed. The cases of Hutcheson and Hume illustrate the complexity of the sources of aesthetic pleasure that was already present in the concept of beauty even when that concept was featured as if it were the sole or primary object of taste. Other writers, notably Burke, recognized the sublime as separate source of pleasure. Yet other writers, notably Gerard, Kames and Beattie, identified the arousal of a wide range of other emotions beyond those in the beautiful and the sublime as sources of aesthetic pleasure. Alison and Payne Knight developed a reductionism premised on the psychology of associationism. In conclusion it is asked whether there is anything that unifies the long list of aesthetic categories recognized during the eighteenth century as objects of a single form of experience.

Keywords: taste, aesthetic judgment, beauty, imagination, sublime, association of ideas

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