David Hume is passionate about the way people perceive the object intheir environment while applying their sentimental feelings andfaculties of the mind to make a distinction. The differentperceptions ad explanations that people have required theestablishment of a standard taste the will contribute to uniformityof interpretation as opposed to personal feelings and opinions. It iscommon for people to consider something as unpleasing or an action asbarbarous if it does not fall within the threshold of what theyconsider excellent and apt.

Human beings agree on general attributes as they apply to variousobjects. However, upon a closer and particular examination of theobjects, there emerge differences and the unanimity they had on theinstant appearance fades slowly.1Hume infers that men agree more on generalization than in reality.Therefore, there should be a standard way of reconciling thedifferences that ensue when they start trending on reality2.However, the efforts to institute a common way of explaining objectsand situation is under the hindrance of several things.

First, the sentiments that guide people in placing an object or acondition in their perceived contexts obstruct a significant degreeof reality. Its relationship with the body and mental facultiesrenders people to make conclusions by drawing their perception fromthis relationship.3For example, in a thousand people, it is possible to have a big listof judgments but very few would incline to what is real. In addition,a perception that may be real can be difficult to prove unlessthrough the application of some empirical process. It can, therefore,be a fruitless endeavor to seek the reality of each other’ssentiment without having a standard taste against which theirsentiments will be juxtaposed.4

The standard way cannot also be left to the expressions of artistswho base their pieces on observations and the general feeling of thepeople. For great artists and poets, people may have unanimousacceptance of the excellence of their work. However, upon thepresentation of their work in another community, people who payattention to the particulars of the work mare likely to find flaws.

The body organs may also be a hindrance to reaching a consensus on astandard taste especially if they exhibit defections. For example,people with jaundice may not perceive colors correctly. However, thefunction of body organs and mental faculties cannot be dismissedsince the functions they play contribute to the sentiments thatpeople have.5Without them, it would be difficult to reach to a standard tastesince it cannot be established in a vacuum of what people cannotperceive. However, great care should be exercised by concentrating onparticular details of an object.

Finally, the unobserved particulars in an object make peopledissatisfied, and they become the source of differences. While somepeople may be comfortable pass an object as excellent or faulty,others may need some time to focus on the particular attributes ofthe object.6Those who rely too much on the general quality may raise objectionsfrom the perception of those who concentrate on the fine details. Thestandard taste may also be affected adversely by the prejudicialattitudes that people have toward certain objects and situations. Ithinders the process of seeking reality to an object’scharacteristic. Therefore, to institute a standard taste, thesefactors should be put into consideration and devise a way of avoidingthem.


Hume, David “Ofthe Standard of Taste. In C. W. Eliott (Ed.).” English Essaysfrom Sir Philip Sidney to Macaulay (1910): 215–236.

1 David, Hume. “Of the Standard of Taste. In C. W. Eliott (Ed.).”

English Essays From Sir Philip Sidney to Macaulay (1910): 215.

2 English Essays From Sir Philip Sidney to Macaulay, 216.

3 English Essays From Sir Philip Sidney to Macaulay, 216.

4 English Essays From Sir Philip Sidney to Macaulay, 217.

5 English Essays from Sir Philip Sidney to Macaulay, 220.

6 English Essays from Sir Philip Sidney to Macaulay, 229.