Francis Hutcheson: An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (2076 words)

Daniel Floyd (University of Aberdeen)
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The INQUIRY into the Original of our Ideas of BEAUTY and VIRTUE¹ was Hutcheson’s best-known work for his contemporaries and later philosophers and went through four editions in his lifetime. Although many authors had commented on taste, Hutcheson was the first writer in English to provide a systematic theory, and in its two interrelated parts—on aesthetics and ethics —he tried to establish universal truths based on what he held to be innate responses of approbation, abhorrence, or (presumably) indifference, to specific actions and objects.

Treatise I, Concerning BEAUTY, ORDER, HARMONY, DESIGN, begins with an attempt to prove the existence of an internal sense of beauty that produces pleasure upon t…

Citation: Floyd, Daniel. "An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 May 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16819, accessed 20 October 2020.]

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