Hume also attempts in the Treatise to establish the other anti-rationalist thesis, that virtue is not the same as reasonableness and vice is not contrary to reason. Hume offers an account of the genesis of the social convention that on his view creates honesty with respect to property, and this is meant to cope in some way with the circularity he identifies. They point to the list of extreme actions that are not contrary to reason (such as preferring one’s own lesser good to one’s greater), and to the Representation Argument, which denies that any passions, volitions, or actions are of such a nature as to be contrary to reason. Sympathy, and the Nature and Origin of the Moral Sentiments Our moral evaluations of persons and their character traits, on Hume’s positive view, arise from our sentiments. The relations relevant here are primarily resemblance and contiguity. So the duty of allegiance to government, far from depending on the duty to fulfill promises, provides needed assurance that promises of all sorts will be kept. It occurs to people to form a society as a consequence of their experience with the small family groups into which they are born, groups united initially by sexual attraction and familial love, but in time demonstrating the many practical advantages of working together with others. The second argument is a corollary of the first. This interpretation does not rely on an assumption about the transitivity of causation and is consistent with Hume’s theory of causation. Your email address will not be published. 2. Henry D. Aiken (New York : Hafner, 1948). 1). taken to imply the failure of Hutcheson and Hume’s moral sentimentalism as a whole. (Moral Rationalism) The causes of action he describes are those he has already identified: the instincts and the other direct passions. Nor could they be identical with any other abstract relation; for such relations can also obtain between items such as trees that are incapable of moral good or evil. 3. He then asks a general nature about the nature of the passions and says that “the impression arising from virtue [is being] agreeable, and that proceeding … But I just finished his "An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals"  (Hume, 2014) and I think that his personality, his sympathy (English) and their good ideas deserve some of my own lines. 3 The Motive of Honest Actions Does this account resolve the circularity problem? He disowns the earlier 4, T 2. Plainly the impulse to act does not arise from the reasoning but is only directed by it. 9. ‘Tis not contrary to reason for me to chuse my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of an Indian or person wholly unknown to me. Issues from Hume’s Predecessors Hume inherits from his predecessors several controversies about ethics and political philosophy. Within small groups of cooperators, individuals signal to one another a willingness to conform to a simple rule: to refrain from the material goods others come to possess by labor or good fortune, provided those others will observe the same restraint toward them. Therefore moral good and evil are not discovered by reason alone. 1. 2. 3. 117: NII Whether the British Government inclines inore to Absolute Monarchy or to a Republic . But Hume also says that, like the little direct argument above, it proves that “actions do not derive their merit from a conformity to reason, nor their blame from a contrariety to it” (T458): it is not the reasonableness of an action that makes it good, or its unreasonableness that makes it evil. For Hume, to say that something is not a product of reason alone is not equivalent to saying it is not a truth-evaluable judgment or belief. Some interpreters say yes, it is greed redirected, which removes the circle. ” (As Francis Snare observes, on this reading Hume must simply assume that no purely factual propositions are themselves evaluative, as he does not argue for this. Also, perhaps there are (propositional) beliefs we acquire via probable reasoning but not by such reasoning alone. 1. Moral rationalists of the period such as Clarke (and in some moods, Hobbes and Locke) argue that moral standards or principles are requirements of reason — that is, that the very rationality of right actions is the ground of our obligation to perform them. First, it shows that actions cannot be reasonable or unreasonable. Hume accounts for the moralization of property as follows. Hume says the argument, as applied to actions, proves two points. This last view emphasizes Hume’s claim that moral good and evil are like heat, cold, and colors as understood in “modern philosophy,” which are experienced directly by sensation, but about which we form beliefs. By contrast, reason can assess a potential opinion as rational or irrational; and by endorsing the opinion, reason will (that is, we will) adopt it, while by contradicting the opinion, reason will destroy our credence in it. The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law. One version says that the moral judgments, as distinct from the moral feelings, are factual judgments about the moral sentiments (Capaldi). . 1. But also what David Hume says is that morality is not consciously and rationally developed; ... You could counterfactually suppose that our moral principles are instilled in us by God, for example - and that would serve the argument just as well, because that too would be an instance of a non-rational origination of morality. They have referred to a number of different principles as the basis for moral goodness, but in Hume's opinion they have not succeeded in giving a satisfactory account of the virtues, nor have they been able to show why it is that they have been preferred to other types of conduct. The only approved, reliable motive that we can find for acts of “equity” is a moral one, the sense of virtue or “regard to the honesty” of the actions. 4) While some virtues and vices are natural (see Section 13), others, including justice, are artificial (see Section 9). Vices prove to have the parallel features: they are either immediately disagreeable or disadvantageous either to the person who has them or to others. And its base is common to all men. The honest individual repays a loan not (merely) out of self-interest or concern for the well-being of the lender (who may be a “profligate debauchee” who will reap only harm from his possessions), but from a “regard to justice, and abhorrence of villainy and knavery” (T 3. . Yet the Representation Argument is not empirical, and does not talk of forces or impulses. 122: Of Parties in General . 1. 2. Therefore, a passion (or volition or action), not having this feature, cannot be opposed by truth and reason. However, there is some legitimate recourse for victims of tyranny: the people may rightly overthrow any government that is so oppressive as not to provide the benefits (peace and security from injustice) for which governments are formed. Other interpreters — the more cognitivist ones — see the paragraph about ‘is’ and ‘ought’ as doing none of the above. And of course, one can promise successfully (incur obligation by promising) even though one has no intention to perform; so the mental act requisite to obligation is not the intention to perform. ). Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy: 3.6 The Harm Principle. We possess greed, and also “limited generosity” — dispositions to kindness and liberality which are more powerfully directed toward kin and friends and less aroused by strangers. The Nature of Moral Judgment On Hume’s view, what is a moral evaluation? 3. The foundation of our morality is inside us: each one of us. Hume offers his account to counter both of two very popular accounts of Ethics: 1. The traits he calls artificial virtues are the ones we need for successful impersonal cooperation; our natural sentiments are too partial to give rise to these without intervention. Often grouped with the latter view is the third, dispositional interpretation, which understands moral evaluations as factual judgments to the effect that the evaluated trait or action is so constituted as to cause feelings of approval or disapproval in a (suitably characterized) spectator (Mackie, in one of his proposals). Is and ought Hume famously closes the section of the Treatise that argues against moral rationalism by observing that other systems of moral philosophy, proceeding in the ordinary way of reasoning, at some point make an unremarked transition from premises whose parts are linked only by “is” to conclusions whose parts are linked by “ought” (expressing a new relation) — a deduction that seems to Hume “altogether inconceivable” (T3. 10. The typical moral judgment isthat some trait, such as a particular person’s benevolence orlaziness, is a virtue or a vice. 27). 11. That is, they take the argument to show that Hume holds a non-propositional view of moral evaluations — and indeed, given his sentimentalism, that he is an emotivist: one who holds that moral judgments are meaningless ventings of emotion that can be neither true nor false. Yet the moral assessments we make do not vary depending upon whether the person we evaluate resembles us in language, sex, or temperament, or is near or far. “’Tis from the prospect of pain or pleasure that the aversion or propensity arises… ” (ibid. First, observation of the effects of another person’s “affection” and its outward expressions in his “countenance and conversation” conveys the idea of his passion into my mind. Yet Hume resists the view of Hutcheson that all moral principles can be reduced to our benevolence, in part because he doubts that benevolence can sufficiently overcome our perfectly normal acquisitiveness. 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