Of the Standard of Taste and Other Essays by David Hume

In preparing this new edition of Hume's fidelity to the text of the 1777 edition has been a paramount aim. Hume's peculiarities of spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have been retained, because these often bear on the meaning of the text. The reader should know, however, that there are some minor departures in the present edition from that of 1777: (1) typographical errors in the 1777 edition have been corrected silently; (2) Greek passages are reprinted as they appear in Green and Grose, with corrections and accents; (3) footnotes are designated by arabic numerals rather than by Hume's symbols (in cases where these designations are adjacent to the punctuation mark, they have been relocated so that they follow, rather than precede, the mark); (4) whereas Hume's longer footnotes are lettered and collected at the end of the volume in the 1777 edition, the present edition puts them at the bottom of the appropriate page, as was the practice in editions of the up to 1770 (with the change in location, it was no longer appropriate to capitalize the first word of these footnotes); (5) whereas two sizes of capitals as well as lowercase letters are used in essay titles in the 1777 edition, titles here are in level capitals; (6) the "long s" has been eliminated throughout; and (7) the running quotation marks in the left margin have been omitted, and the use of quotation marks has been made to conform to modern practice.

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The preparation of a critical apparatus for Hume's would require that the 1777 edition be collated with each of the previous editions and that each variation in wording, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and such be recorded. This task falls beyond the scope of the present edition of the Yet inasmuch as variants are important for understanding the development of Hume's thought, I have reprinted the variant readings that Green and Grose record in their edition of the using for this purpose the "New Edition" in the printing of 1889. Nidditch is certainly correct in pointing out that Green and Grose's "apparatus of variant readings is very deficient." They do not, for example, record formal variations, and it is clear that they do not show all of the significant material variations. Their list of variant readings is nonetheless quite extensive, and it must suffice for the present. In Green and Grose's edition, the variant readings appear as footnotes. I have collected them at the end of the volume in order to avoid confusion with Hume's and my own footnotes.


Essay Hume's Standard Of Taste - Oxbridge Notes

Of the Standard of Taste and Other Essays Quotes by David Hume

Tho’ the prospect of sharing the plunder of the church had engaged some princes to embrace the reformation, it may be affirmed, that the Romish system remained still the favorite religion of sovereigns. The blind submission, which is inculcated by all superstition, particularly by that of the catholics; the absolute resignation of all private judgment, reason, and inquiry; these are dispositions very advantageous to civil as well as ecclesiastical authority; and the liberty of the subject is more likely to suffer from such principles than the prerogatives of the chief magistrate. The splendor too and pomp of worship, which that religion carefully supports, are agreeable to the taste of magnificence, that prevails in courts, and form a species of devotion, which, while it flatters the pampered senses, gives little perplexity to the indolent understandings, of the great. That delicious country, where the Roman pontiff resides, was the source of all modern art and refinement, and diffused on its superstition an air of politeness, which distinguishes it from the gross rusticity of the other sects. And tho’ policy made it assume, in some of its monastic orders, that austere mien, which is acceptable to the vulgar; all authority still resided in its prelates and spiritual princes, whose temper, more cultivated and humanized, inclined them to every decent pleasure and indulgence. Like all other species of superstition, it rouses the vain fears of unhappy mortals; but it knows also the secret of allaying these fears, and by exterior rites, ceremonies, and abasements, tho’ sometimes at the expence of morals, it reconciles the penitent to his offended deity.