Francis Hutcheson's aesthetics and his critics in Ireland: Charles-Louis de Villette and Edmund Burke
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D. Carey (2016) 'Francis Hutcheson s Aesthetics and his Critics in Ireland: Charles-Louis de Villette and Edmund Burke'. Journal of Scottish Thought, 7 :81-105.
In his own time as much as in ours, the response to Francis Hutcheson’s philosophy has concentrated above all on his contribution to moral thought, especially the articulation of a so-called ‘moral sense’.1 The moral sense as described by Hutcheson responds to events in the world by notifying the subject of pleasure when experiencing or observing acts of benevolence, and displeasure when witnessing their opposite. Hutcheson’s aesthetic theory has not preoccupied critics to the same extent, despite the fact that it formed an important, indeed intrinsic part of his argument in An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725). In a vein that Shaftesbury had infl uentially explored before him, Hutcheson began his account by establishing the model of an internal aesthetic sense which made experience of beauty, harmony, form and order possible. His confi dence that his audience would accept the empirical existence of such a sense facilitated the transition to the argument about a parallel moral sense.