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September 6, 2007

Hinterland Diary

John Stoehr

More from Seabrook's "Nobrow". . .

Part of the appeal of taste was that it felt incontrovertible: it was like a fact, somehow beyond argument. I said something about taste being a metaphor and about the importance of distinguishing, as Kant did, between taste as an act of judgment and taste as an act of sensing--the difference between that which pleases and that which gratifies. According to Kant, the man of taste can't judge adequately unless he has a full belly ("Only when men have got all they want can we tell who among the crowd has taste or not"). But this argument lacked the moral force of the graduate student's position, which was that no one has a right to judge as long as other people are hungry. For, after all, taste was based on privilege.

Posted by John Stoehr at September 6, 2007 9:34 AM