Issues of tastes and smells are often relegated to an ancillary or minor rank of importance in the domain of aesthetics, if recognized at all as legitimate objects of aesthetic inquiry and experience. This essay aims, firstly, to carve out a space of legitimacy for the aesthetics of tastes, and secondly, to clarify what aesthetic inquiry with regards to tastes must look like. In order for the above to be decisively established, the following positions will be argued for: (1) tastes are real, (2) our ordinary or scientific conception of what tastes are, upon which our reasons for doubting the possibility of successfully and reliably identifying tastes, is inadequate, (3) normative facts are objective and normative judgments are cognitive, and (4) aesthetic judgments and the relevant features of aesthetic objects are so and not otherwise in virtue of the aesthetic domain also being a normative one. This normativity is dual-aspectual: firstly, the reason(s) or justification for the presence of any one taste must come from the arrangement of other present tastes. When all justifications are in harmony, then the parts form a whole, such that to observe that a part is absent presupposes that it ought to be present. Secondly, the perception of an arrangement of tastes (or objects) as beautiful consists in the recognition of dignity (and consequentially the worthiness of the object of judgment as an object of desire for all rational beings) in light of the harmony noted in the description of the first aspect, and the recognition of this dignity means that we are disposed to behave in certain ways towards the object in question. The completion of these tasks will yield a model for all future food criticism.


Thomson, Garrett




Aesthetics | Metaphysics | Other Arts and Humanities | Other Food Science | Other Philosophy


Philosophy, Food Criticism, Aesthetics, Normativity

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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