Taste (culture)

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Taste is a cultural and aesthetic ideal insofar as it refers to the differentiated ability to judge, which everyone should strive for. Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900–2002) counts taste alongside education , judgment and sensus communis as one of the key humanistic concepts.

Different dimensions of the term

Between aesthetics and morals

Gadamer explains:

"The long history that this term has, until Kant made it the foundation of his critique of judgment, shows that the concept of taste is originally more of a moral than an aesthetic term"

This action-related, rather moral ideal of taste becomes immediately understandable if one z. B. its impact on fashion; d. H. on the dress code in the original sense of the word. Here the corresponding meaning of the term is reflected in the type of appearance and the design of his personal environment.

The role of sensuality and aesthetics results from the ›consciousness-building function‹ of the senses, as it is made clear by today's sensory physiology and psychology and has always been a traditional fact of experience in the field of education and training . The concept of sensus communis emphasizes what can be grasped by the senses from the word meaning of a sense (Latin sensus = sense; sentire = to feel, to feel). On the other hand, the sensual is familiar with the double meaning of sense organ and abstract sense. Sense and nonsense are the subject of abstract judgment as a question of aesthetic awareness. This denotes a capacity for discernment that is composed of all the senses , of course not just the capacity for taste as the performance of the gustatory and olfactory system. In this respect, taste is of course a generalization. It is essential for the quality of awareness of good taste that although it is not tied to terms like the services of the mind, it nevertheless enables us to communicate.

When Gadamer speaks of “narrowing down the concept of taste itself”, he means narrowing it down to “aesthetically pleasing”.

Between generality and subjectivity

While the concept of a ›natural education‹ still refers today to the external appearance and the formation of the figure both for the individual human being and as a general educational ideal, a change has taken place for intellectual education towards generality, a change that also influenced the concept of taste. Taste is therefore no longer just a subjective ability, as Kant still understood it, but rather a cultural property, as already assumed by Hegel and Wilhelm von Humboldt . Preference is separated from taste judgments: De gustibus non est disputandum (no negotiation about taste). He is not dependent on the judgment of others. This gives it the subjective determination as well as the objectively valid claim to validity. Taste encompasses the whole range of manners and decency. The ideal of taste has made history by becoming the ideal of the third estate and therefore no longer birth and rank, but only the commonalities of the judgment were decisive.

Taste in the sociological sense

“Having taste” is also used as a societal means of distinction , in this respect a distinction is made between so-called good or high taste and bad or low taste. According to the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, in his major work The Subtle Differences , published in 1979, the actors in the space of lifestyles develop superior and subordinate forms of taste that are tied to the class .

Empirical research

Questions about taste as an aesthetic preference are also examined using methods from empirical aesthetics as a sub-discipline of psychology.

For example, a meta-analysis of 23 studies with a total of 1,531 participants examined the relationship between intelligence and taste. It was found that the ability to evaluate visual beauty has a low to medium correlation with the general factor of intelligence .

The personality affects the taste. A study of over 90,000 people showed that personality traits , such as openness to experience , are strong correlates of preferences for certain paintings and enjoying visits to art galleries .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hans-Georg Gadamer : Truth and Method. Basic features of a philosophical hermeneutics . Collected Works, Volume I, Hermeneutics IJCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen 1990, ISBN 3-16-145616-5 , pp. 15–47
  2. Hans-Georg Gadamer : Truth and Method. Basic features of a philosophical hermeneutics . Collected Works, Volume I, Hermeneutics IJCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen 1990, ISBN 3-16-145616-5 , p. 40
  3. Immanuel Kant: Critique of Judgment . 1790, § 39, B 153 f.
  4. Nils Myszkowski, Pinar Çelik, Martin Storme: A meta-analysis of the relationship between intelligence and visual “taste” measures. In: Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts . tape 12 , no. 1 , p. 24–33 , doi : 10.1037 / aca0000099 ( apa.org [accessed March 27, 2018]).
  5. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Stian Reimers, Anne Hsu, Gorkan Ahmetoglu: Who art thou? Personality predictors of artistic preferences in a large UK sample: The importance of openness . In: British Journal of Psychology . tape 100 , no. 3 , August 2009, ISSN  0007-1269 , p. 501-516 , doi : 10.1348 / 000712608x366867 ( wiley.com [accessed May 3, 2018]).