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Source: p , Introducing Philosophy for Canadians: A Text with Integrated Readings (2011 1 ed).
Primary Source: Paragraph 5, Section 1, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751) by David Hume

  It must be acknowledged, that both sides of the question are susceptible of specious arguments. Moral distinctions, it may be said, are discernible by pure reason: Else, whence the many disputes that reign in common life, as well as in philosophy, with regard to this subject: The long chain of proofs often produced on both sides; the examples cited, the authorities appealed to, the analogies employed, the fallacies detected, the inferences drawn, and the several conclusions adjusted to their proper principles. [1.] Truth is disputable; not taste: [End of 1] What exists in the nature of things is the standard of our judgment; what each man feels within himself is the standard of sentiment. Propositions in geometry may be proved, systems in physics may be controverted; but the harmony of verse, the tenderness of passion, the brilliancy of wit, must give immediate pleasure. No man reasons concerning another's beauty; but frequently concerning the justice or injustice of his actions. In every criminal trial the first object of the prisoner is to disprove the facts alleged, and deny the actions imputed to him: The second to prove, that, even if these actions were real, they might be justified, as innocent and lawful. It is confessedly by deductions of the understanding, that the first point is ascertained: How can we suppose that a different faculty of the mind is employed in fixing the other?

I know that Hume allies Truth with Reason and Taste with Sentiments. But even though taste and sentiments are subjective, one can still dispute them, no?

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    Can you explain why you think subjective taste can be disputed? Maybe give an example? It might clarify your question. – Eliran Jul 20 '16 at 19:39
  • The major argument is, boiled down, one cannot identify what ought to be from what is. Moral judgements arise from feelings, identifying facts arises from reason (thinking). Hume thought the conflation of these two types of human procedures for making determinations was responsible for a lot of ill in the world. – Dan Bron Jul 20 '16 at 19:42
  • @EliranH I think that it can, in the absence of 100% relativism. For example, consider languages. Someone may prefer English because of its faster language change, but someone else may prefer a language with minimal language change like Icelandic. They can then dispute the pros and cons of historical change on a language (e.g. effect on understanding by future readers, incomprehensibility in the current generation, etc...). – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Jul 20 '16 at 19:52
  • I think what @EliranH is saying is that that is invalid, or at best, meaningless to dispute the motivation that, say, one prefers rapid language change. You can instead argue over the material effects, as you say, the pros and cons of the outcomes of imposing that (valid) preference. But you cannot say "you do not or should not have that feeling", at least not (per Hume) in the same way you debate whether the moon is or is not made of green cheese. – Dan Bron Jul 20 '16 at 19:59

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