05 November 2007

matters of taste

We have told you earlier on about a beautiful project, a collaborative
translation of Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert. This quote is
from an article about "taste" written by Voltaire, Montesquieu,
d'Alembert and Diderot. This piece is by Voltaire.

"It is said that one should not argue about matters of taste. This is true as long as it is only a question of sensual taste, of the revulsion one experiences for a certain food and the preference one feels for another. This is not subject to argument because it is impossible to correct a flaw that is organic. The same is not true in the arts: since the arts have genuine beauty, there exists a good taste that discerns it and a bad taste that is unaware of it, and often the flaw of the mind that produces wrong taste can be corrected. There are also cold souls and men incapable of sound reasoning; these can neither be inspired with feeling nor corrected in their thinking; with them one should not argue about matters of taste since they have none."

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