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Abstract

This paper asks whether supertasters possess the criteria for ideal critics that David Hume outlines in his essay "Of the Standard of Taste." This might seem like a straightforward question, but there is a paradox involving supertasters: They possess more tastebuds than normal tasters, making it reasonable to assume they fulfill the requirements for Humean ideal critics with respect to taste. However, because they have more tastebuds, supertasters find certain foods bitter that normal tasters do not and thus negatively evaluate them. This might indicate that supertasters actually make poor candidates for being Humean ideal critics with respect to taste. This paradox is resolved by concluding that supertasters do, in fact, make good candidates for being Humean ideal critics provided that they obtain a special sort of gustatory education. This resolution depends upon the separation of personal and critical taste and the assumption that critical taste is educable, an assumption that will be discussed in this paper. This separation threatens common-sense conceptions of the critic.

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