① Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists

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Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists

A Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists of Human NatureL. Therefore Memorial Persuasive Speech must be some sentiment that Female Empowerment In Buffy The Vampire Slayer us favor the one over the other. Still others say there is no non-moral motive of honest action, Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists Hume escapes from the circle by relaxing this ostensibly universal requirement on virtuous types of behavior, limiting Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists to the naturally virtuous kinds. Hume Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists Kant operate Mahatma Gandhis Civil Disobedience two somewhat different conceptions of morality itself, which helps explain some of the differences between Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists respective approaches to moral philosophy. God knows Young Goodman Brown Foreshadowing Analysis cares about our Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists and well-being. Nor could they be identical with Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists other John Singletons Boyz In The Hood relation; for such relations can also obtain Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists items such as trees that are incapable of moral good or evil. He famously criticizes the notion that Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists political duties arise Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists an implicit contract that Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists later generations who were not party to the original explicit agreement.

Introduction to Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

The will, however, is merely that impression we feel when we knowingly give rise to an action T 2. The causes of action he describes are those he has already identified: the instincts and the other direct passions. Hume amously sets himself in opposition to most moral philosophers, ancient and modern, who talk of the combat of passion and reason, and who urge human beings to regulate their actions by reason and to grant it dominion over their contrary passions.

His view is not, of course, that reason plays no role in the generation of action; he grants that reason provides information, in particular about means to our ends, which makes a difference to the direction of the will. His thesis is that reason alone cannot move us to action; the impulse to act itself must come from passion. The first is a largely empirical argument based on the two rational functions of the understanding. The understanding discovers the abstract relations of ideas by demonstration a process of comparing ideas and finding congruencies and incongruencies ; and it also discovers the causal and other probabilistic relations of objects that are revealed in experience.

Demonstrative reasoning is never the cause of any action by itself: it deals in ideas rather than realities, and we only find it useful in action when we have some purpose in view and intend to use its discoveries to inform our inferences about and so enable us to manipulate causes and effects. Probable or cause-and-effect reasoning does play a role in deciding what to do, but we see that it only functions as an auxiliary, and not on its own. Our aversion or propensity makes us seek the causes of the expected source of pain or pleasure, and we use causal reasoning to discover what they are. Once we do, our impulse naturally extends itself to those causes, and we act to avoid or embrace them. Plainly the impulse to act does not arise from the reasoning but is only directed by it.

Probable reasoning is merely the discovering of causal connections, and knowledge that A causes B never concerns us if we are indifferent to A and to B. Thus, neither demonstrative nor probable reasoning alone causes action. The second argument is a corollary of the first. It concludes that reason alone cannot prevent action or resist passion in controlling the will. It takes as a premise the conclusion of the previous argument, that reason alone cannot produce any impulse to act. What is requisite to arrest a volition or retard the impulse of an existing passion is a contrary impulse. If reason alone were to resist a passion, it would need to give rise to such a contrary impulse. But could it do that, it would have an original influence on the will a capacity to cause intentional action, when unopposed ; which, according to the previous argument, it does not have.

Therefore reason alone cannot resist any impulse to act. Therefore, whatever it may be in the mind that offers resistance to our passions, it cannot be reason of itself. The third or Representation argument is different in kind. It looks as if Hume is about to give another argument to show that reason alone cannot provide a force to resist passion or volition. Yet the Representation Argument is not empirical, and does not talk of forces or impulses. Therefore, a passion or volition or action , not having this feature, cannot be opposed by truth and reason. Hume says the argument, as applied to actions, proves two points. First, it shows that actions cannot be reasonable or unreasonable.

The point here is not merely the earlier, empirical observation that the rational activity of the understanding does not generate an impulse in the absence of an expectation of pain or pleasure. It is a conclusion about the relevance of ratiocination alone to action. Because passions, volitions, and actions have no content suitable for assessment by reason, reason cannot assess prospective motives or actions as rational or irrational, and therefore reason cannot, by so assessing them, create or obstruct them. 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 Representation Argument, then, makes a point a priori about the relevance of the functions of the understanding to the generation of actions.

Hume allows that, speaking imprecisely, we often say a passion is unreasonable because it arises in response to a mistaken judgment or opinion, either that something a source of pleasure or uneasiness exists, or that it may be obtained or avoided by a certain means. In just these two cases a passion may be called unreasonable, but strictly speaking even here it is not the passion but the judgment that is so. And there is no other instance of passion contrary to reason. Either way, Hume denies that reason can evaluate the ends people set themselves; only passions can select ends, and reason cannot evaluate passions.

Instrumentalists understand the claim that reason is the slave of the passions to allow that reason not only discovers the causally efficacious means to our ends a task of theoretical causal reasoning but also requires us to take them. The classificatory point in the Representation Argument favors the reading of Hume as a skeptic about practical reason; but that argument is absent from the moral Enquiry. Ethical Anti-rationalism Hume claims that moral distinctions are not derived from reason but rather from sentiment. His rejection of ethical rationalism is at least two-fold. Moral rationalists tend to say, first, that moral properties are discovered by reason, and also that what is morally good is in accord with reason even that goodness consists in reasonableness and what is morally evil is unreasonable.

Hume rejects both theses. Some of his arguments are directed to one and some to the other thesis, but ambiguities in the text make it unclear which he means to attack in certain places. Demonstrative reasoning discovers relations of ideas, and vice and virtue are not identical with any of the four philosophical relations resemblance, contrariety, degrees in quality, or proportions in quantity and number whose presence can be demonstrated. 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. Furthermore, were moral vice and virtue discerned by demonstrative reasoning, such reasoning would have to reveal heir inherent power to produce motives in all who discern them; but no causal connections can be discovered a priori.

Causal reasoning, by contrast, does infer matters of fact pertaining to actions, in particular their causes and effects; but the vice of an action its wickedness is not found in its causes or effects, but is only apparent when we consult the sentiments of the observer. Therefore moral good and evil are not discovered by reason alone. 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. He gives two arguments to this end.

The first he says follows directly from the Representation Argument, whose conclusion was that passions, volitions, and actions can be neither reasonable nor unreasonable. This direct argument is quite short. Actions, he observes, can be laudable or blamable. The properties are not identical. The second and more famous argument makes use of the conclusion defended earlier that reason alone cannot move us to act. Morality — this argument goes on — influences our passions and actions: we are often impelled to or deterred from action by our opinions of obligation or injustice. Therefore morals cannot be derived from reason alone. This argument about motives concludes that moral judgments or evaluations are not the products of reason alone.

From this many draw the sweeping conclusion that for Hume moral evaluations are not beliefs or opinions of any kind, but lack all cognitive content. 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. Such a reading should be met with caution, however. 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. Hume does not consider all our propositional beliefs and opinions to be products of reason; some arise directly from sense perception, for example, and some from sympathy.

Also, perhaps there are propositional beliefs we acquire via probable reasoning but not by such reasoning alone. One possible example is the belief that some object is a cause of pleasure, a belief that depends upon prior impressions as well as probable reasoning. Another concern about the famous argument about motives is how it could be sound. In order for it to yield its conclusion, it seems that its premise that morality or a moral judgment influences the will must be construed to say that moral evaluations alone move us to action, without the help of some further passion. This is a controversial claim and not one of which Hume offers any defense. The premise that reason alone cannot influence action is also difficult to interpret.

It would seem, given his prior arguments for this claim e. Yet it is hard to see how Hume, given his theory of causation, can argue that no mental item of a certain type such as a causal belief can possibly cause motivating passion or action. Such a claim could not be supported a priori. And in Treatise 1. It is possible that Hume only means to say, in the premise that reason alone cannot influence action, that reasoning processes cannot generate actions as their logical conclusions; but that would introduce an equivocation, since he surely does not mean to say, in the other premise, that moral evaluations generate actions as their logical conclusions.

The transition from premises to conclusion also seems to rely on a principle of transitivity If A alone cannot produce X and B produces X, then A alone cannot produce B , which is doubtful but receives no defense. Commentators have proposed various nterpretations to avoid these difficulties. If we understand the terms this way, the argument can be read not as showing that the faculty of reason or the beliefs it generates cannot cause us to make moral judgments, but rather as showing that the reasoning process comparing ideas is distinct from the process of moral discrimination. This is usually thought to mean something much more general: that no ethical or indeed evaluative conclusion whatsoever may be validly inferred from any set of purely factual premises.

A number of present-day philosophers, including R. Some interpreters think Hume commits himself here to a non-propositional or noncognitivist view of moral judgment — the view that moral judgments do not state facts and are not truth-evaluable. If moral evaluations are merely expressions of feeling without propositional content, then of course they cannot be inferred from any propositional premises. Some see the paragraph as denying ethical realism, excluding values from the domain of facts. Others interpret it as making a point about the original discovery of virtue and vice, which must involve the use of sentiment. On this view, one cannot make the initial discovery of moral properties by inference from nonmoral premises using reason alone; rather, one requires some input from sentiment.

It is not simply by reasoning from the abstract and causal relations one has discovered that one comes to have the ideas of virtue and vice; one must respond to such information with feelings of approval and disapproval. They point out that Hume himself makes such inferences frequently in his writings. Four main interpretations have significant textual support. First, as we have seen, the nonpropositional view says that for Hume a moral evaluation does not express any proposition or state any fact; either it gives vent to a feeling, or it is itself a feeling Flew, Blackburn, Snare, Bricke.

A more refined form of this interpretation allows that moral evaluations have some propositional content, but claims that for Hume their essential feature, as evaluations, is non-propositional. The subjective description view, by contrast, says that for Hume moral evaluations describe the feelings of the spectator, or the feelings a spectator would have were she to contemplate the trait or action from the common point of view. 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.

On the dispositional view, in saying some trait is good we attribute to the trait the dispositional property of being such as to elicit approval. A fourth interpretation distinguishes two psychological states that might be called a moral evaluation: an occurrent feeling of approval or disapproval which is not truth-apt , and a moral belief or judgment that is propositional. Versions of this fourth interpretation differ in what they take to be the content of that latter mental state. One version says that the moral judgments, as distinct from the moral feelings, are factual judgments about the moral sentiments Capaldi.

A distinct version, the moral sensing view, treats the moral beliefs as ideas copied from the impressions of approval or disapproval that represent a trait of character or an action as having whatever quality it is that one experiences in feeling the moral sentiment Cohon. These moral sentiments are emotions in the present-day sense of that term with a unique phenomenological quality, and also with a special set of causes. Approval approbation is a pleasure, and disapproval disapprobation a pain or uneasiness. The moral sentiments are typically calm rather than violent, although they can be intensified as a result of our awareness of the moral responses of others.

They are types of pleasure and uneasiness that are associated with the passions of pride and humility, love and atred: when we feel moral approval for another we tend to love or esteem her, and when we approve a trait of our own we are proud of it. We distinguish which traits are virtuous and which are vicious by means of our feelings of approval and disapproval toward the traits; our approval of actions is derived from approval of the traits we suppose to have given rise to them. We can determine, by observing the various sorts of traits toward which we feel approval, that every such trait — every virtue — has at least one of the following four characteristics: it is either immediately agreeable to the person who has it or to others, or it is useful advantageous over the longer term to its possessor or to others.

Vices prove to have the parallel features: they are either immediately disagreeable or disadvantageous either to the person who has them or to others. In the Treatise Hume details the causes of the moral sentiments, in doing so explaining why agreeable and advantageous traits prove to be the ones that generate approval. He claims that the sentiments of moral approval and disapproval are caused by some of the operations of sympathy, which is not a feeling but rather a psychological mechanism that enables one person to receive by communication the sentiments of another more or less what we would call empathy today. Sympathy in general operates as follows. Now, we at all times possess a maximally vivid and forceful impression of ourselves.

The relations relevant here are primarily resemblance and contiguity. All human beings, regardless of their differences, are similar in bodily structure and in the types of passions they possess and their causes. The person I observe or consider may further resemble me in more specific shared features such as character or nationality.

Because of the resemblance and my contiguity to the observed person, the idea of his passion is associated in my mind with my impression of myself, and acquires great vivacity from it. The sole difference between an idea and an impression is the degree of liveliness or vivacity each possesses. So great is this acquired vivacity that the idea of his passion in my mind becomes an impression, and I actually experience the passion. When I come to share in the affections of strangers, and feel pleasure because they are pleased, as I do when I experience an aesthetic enjoyment of a well-designed ship or fertile field that is not my own, that pleasure of mine can only be caused by sympathy T 2.

Similarly, Hume observes, when we reflect upon a character or mental quality knowing its tendency either to the benefit or enjoyment of strangers or to their harm or uneasiness, we come to feel enjoyment when the trait is beneficial or agreeable to those strangers, and uneasiness when the trait is harmful or disagreeable to them. This reaction of ours to the tendency of a character trait to affect the sentiments of those with whom we have no special affectionate ties can only be explained by sympathy. We greatly approve the artificial virtues justice with respect to property, allegiance to government, and dispositions to obey the laws of nations and the rules of modesty and good manners , which Hume argues are inventions contrived solely for the interest of society.

We approve them in all times and places, even where our own interest is not at stake, solely for their tendency to benefit the whole society of that time or place. The sympathy-generated pleasure, then, is the moral approbation we feel toward these traits of character. We find the character traits — the causes — agreeable because they are the means to ends we find agreeable as a result of sympathy. Hume extends this analysis to the approval of most of the natural virtues. Those traits of which we approve naturally without any social contrivance , such as beneficence, clemency, and moderation, also tend to the good of individuals or all of society.

So our approval of those can be explained in precisely the same way, via sympathy with the pleasure of those who receive benefit. And since the imagination is more struck by what is particular than by what is general, manifestations of the natural virtues, which directly benefit any individual to whom they are directed, are even more apt to give pleasure via sympathy than are the manifestations of justice, which may harm identifiable individuals in some cases though they contribute to a pattern of action beneficial to society as a whole T 3.

The Common Point of View As we saw, the moral sentiments are produced by sympathy with those affected by a trait or action. However, the sympathetic transmission of sentiments can vary in effectiveness depending upon the degree of resemblance and contiguity between the observer and the person with whom he sympathizes. Does the same hold for the moral distinctions themselves? Rachel Cohon has argued, to the contrary, that moral distinctions describe statements that are evaluable as true or false Cohon Specifically, they describe beliefs about what character traits produce pleasure and pain in human spectators. That is because the claim that human observers feel pleasure in response to some character trait represents an external matter of fact and, thus, can be denominated true or false depending upon whether it represents this matter of fact accurately.

Hume claims that if reason is not responsible for our ability to distinguish moral goodness from badness, then there must be some other capacity of human beings that enables us to make moral distinctions T 3. Like his predecessors Shaftesbury and Francis Hutcheson , Hume believes that moral distinctions are the product of a moral sense. In this respect, Hume is a moral sentimentalist. Moral sense theory holds, roughly, that moral distinctions are recognized through a process analogous to sense perception. Hume explains that virtue is that which causes pleasurable sensations of a specific type in an observer, while vice causes painful sensations of a specific type. While all moral approval is a sort of pleasurable sensation, this does not mean that all pleasurable sensations qualify as instances of moral approval.

So, moral approval is a specific type of pleasurable sensation, only felt in response to persons, with a particular phenomenological quality. Along with the common experience of feeling pleasure in response to virtue and pain when confronted with vice T 3. Everything in the mind, Hume argues, is either an impression or idea. Hume understands an impression to be the first, and most forceful, appearance of a sensation or feeling in the human mind. An idea, by contrast, is a less forceful copy of that initial impression that is preserved in memory T 1.

Hume holds that all reasoning involves comparing our ideas. This means that moral rationalism must hold that we arrive at an understanding of morality merely through a comparison of ideas T 3. However, since Hume has shown that moral distinctions are not the product of reason alone, moral distinctions cannot be made merely through comparison of ideas. Therefore, if moral distinctions are not made by comparing ideas, they must be based upon our impressions or feelings. If that were true, then the moral status of some character trait would be inferred from the fact that we are experiencing a pleasurable sensation. Because moral distinctions are not made through a comparison of ideas, Hume believes it is more accurate to say that morality is a matter of feeling rather than judgment T 3.

Since virtue and vice are not inherent properties of actions or persons, what constitutes the virtuousness or viciousness of some action or character must be found within the observer or spectator. When, for example, someone determines that some action or character trait is vicious, this just means that your human nature is constituted such that you respond to that action or character trait with a feeling of disapproval T 3. Just like the experiences of taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch produced by our physical senses, virtue and vice exist in the minds of human observers instead of in the actions themselves T 3. Here Hume appeals to the primary-secondary quality distinction.

Sensory qualities and moral qualities are both observer-dependent. Just as there would be no appearance of color if there were no observers, so there would also be no such thing as virtue or vice without beings capable of feeling approval or disapproval in response to human actions. Likewise, a human being who lacked the required emotional capacities would be unable to understand what the rest of us mean when we say that some trait is virtuous or vicious. For instance, imagine a psychopath who has the necessary reasoning ability to understand the consequences of murder, but lacks aversion toward it and, thus, cannot determine or recognize its moral status.

In fact, the presence of psychopathy, and the inability of psychopaths to understand moral judgments, is sometimes taken as an objection to moral rationalism. A single action, unlike the habits and dispositions that characterize our character, is fleeting and may not accurately represent our character. Hume posits an additional requirement that some sentiment must meet to qualify as a sentiment of moral approval or disapproval. This case suggests that there is an important difference between the evaluations we make of other people based upon how they influence our interests, and the evaluations we make of others based upon their moral character.

Moral approval only occurs from a perspective in which the spectator does not take her self-interest into consideration. In the conclusion to the second Enquiry Hume makes this point by distinguishing the languages of morality and self-interest. The general vantage point from which moral evaluations are made does not just exclude considerations of self-interest. It also corrects for other factors that can distort our moral evaluations. For instance, adoption of the general point of view corrects our natural tendency to give greater praise to those who exist in close spatial-temporal proximity. Hume notes that someone might feel a stronger degree of praise for her hardworking servant than she feels for the historical representation of Marcus Brutus T 3.

From an objective point of view, Brutus merits greater praise for his moral character. However, we are acquainted with our servant and frequently interact with him. Brutus, on the other hand, is only known to us through historical accounts. Temporal distance causes our immediate, natural feelings of praise for Brutus to be less intense than the approval we give to our servant. Yet, this variation is not reflected in our moral evaluations. We do not judge that our servant has a superior moral character, and we do not automatically conclude that those who live in our own country are morally superior to those living in foreign countries T 3. So, Hume needs some explanation of why our considered moral evaluations do not match our immediate feelings.

Hume tells us that this vantage point is one in which we consider the influence that the person in question has upon his or her contemporaries T 3. Hume identifies a second type of correction that the general point of view is responsible for as well. Hume observes that we have the capacity to praise someone whose character traits are widely beneficial, even when unfortunate external circumstances prevent those traits from being effective T 3.

For example, we might imagine a generous, kind-hearted individual whose generosity fails to make much of an impact on others because she is of modest means. At the same time, we might be puzzled how this could be the case since we naturally give stronger praise to the person whose good fortune enables her virtuous traits to produce actual benefits T 3. Hume makes a two-fold response here. So, adopting the general point of view requires spectators to set aside a multitude of considerations: self-interest, demographic resemblance, spatial-temporal proximity, and the influence of fortune. What motivates us to adopt this vantage point?

Hume explains that doing so enables us to discuss the evaluations we make of others. If we each evaluated from our personal perspective, then a character that garnered the highest praise from me might garner only than mild praise from you. The general point of view, then, provides a common basis from which differently situated individuals can arrive at some common understanding of morality T 3. Still, Hume notes that this practical solution may only regulate our language and public judgments of our peers.

Our personal feelings often prove too entrenched. When our actual sentiments are too resistant to correction, Hume notes that we at least attempt to conform our language to the objective standard T 3. In addition to explaining why it is that we adopt the general point of view, one might also think that Hume owes us an explanation of why this perspective constitutes the standard of correctness for moral evaluation. What gives the pronouncements we make from the general point of view this authoritative status?

Hume scholars are divided on this point. One possibility, developed by Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, is that adopting the general point of view enables us to avoid the practical conflicts that inevitably arise when we judge character traits from our individual perspectives Sayre-McCord Jacqueline Taylor, focusing primarily on the second Enquiry , argues that the normative authority of the general point of view arises from the fact that it arises from a process of social deliberation and negotiation requiring the virtues of good judgment Taylor Rachel Cohon argues that evaluations issuing from the general point of view are most likely to form true ethical beliefs Cohon In a somewhat similar vein, Kate Abramson argues that the general point of view enables us to correctly determine whether some character trait enables its possessor to act properly within the purview of her relationships and social roles Abramson We have seen that, for Hume, a sentiment can qualify as a moral sentiment only if it is not the product of pure self-interest.

This implies that human nature must possess some capacity to get outside of itself and take an interest in the fortunes and misfortunes of others. When making moral evaluations we approve qualities that benefit the possessor and her associates, while disapproving of those qualities that make the possessor harmful to herself or others T 3. This requires that we can take pleasure in that which benefits complete strangers. Thus, moral evaluation would be impossible without the capacity to partake of the pleasure or pain of any being that shares our underlying human nature. That is, it is the process by which we experience what others are feeling and thinking.

This process begins by forming an idea of what another person is experiencing. This occurs through observing the usual causes of that emotion. Hume provides the example of someone who observes surgical instruments being prepared for a painful operation. He notes that this person would feel terrified for the person about to suffer through the operation even though the operation had not yet begun T 3. This is because the observer already established a prior mental association between surgical instruments and pain.

That idea must be converted into something with more affective potency. Our idea of what another feels must be transformed into an impression T 2. The reason this conversion is possible is that the only difference between impressions and ideas is the intensity with which they are felt in the mind T 2. First, we always experience an impression of ourselves which is not surpassed in force, vivacity, and liveliness by any other impression. Second, because we have this lively impression of ourselves, Hume believes it follows that whatever is related to that impression must receive some share of that vivacity T 2. He identifies three such ways in which ideas become associated: resemblance the sharing of similar characteristics , contiguity proximity in space or time , and causation roughly, the constant conjunction of two ideas in which one idea precedes another in time T 1.

However, resemblance plays the most important role. Although each individual human is different from one another, there is also an underlying commonality or resemblance within all members of the human species T 2. That idea of happiness, then, becomes related to ourselves and, consequently, receives some of the vivacity that is held by the impression of our self. Although sympathy makes it possible for us to care for others, even those we have no close or immediate connection with, Hume acknowledges that it does not do so in an entirely impartial or egalitarian manner. The strength of our sympathy is influenced both by the universal resemblance that exists among all human beings as well as more parochial types of resemblances.

We will sympathize more easily with those who share various demographic similarities such as language, culture, citizenship, or place of origin T 2. Consequently, when the person we are sympathizing with shares these similarities we will form a stronger conception of their feelings, and when such similarities are absent our conception of their feeling will be comparatively weaker. Likewise, we will have stronger sympathy with those who live in our own city, state, country, or time, than we will with those who are spatially or temporally distant.

In fact, it is this aspect of sympathy which prompts Hume to introduce the general point of view discussed above. It is our natural sympathy that causes us to give stronger praise those who exist in closer spatial-temporal proximity, even though our considered moral evaluations do not exhibit such variation. Hume poses this point as an objection to his claim that our moral evaluations proceed from sympathy T 3. Moral evaluations arise from sympathetic feelings that are corrected by the influence of the general point of view. He understands this as the human disposition that produces our common praise for that which benefits the public and common blame for that which harms the public EPM 5. The principle of humanity explains why we prefer seeing things go well for our peers instead of seeing them go badly.

It also explains why we would not hope to see our peers suffer if that suffering in no way benefited us or satisfied our resentment from a prior provocation EPM 5. Like sympathy, then, Hume uses humanity to explain our concern for the well-being of others. This does not necessarily mean that sympathy is absent from the Enquiry. As he did with sympathy in the Treatise , Hume argues that the principle of humanity makes moral evaluations possible. It is because we naturally approve of that which benefits society, and disapprove of that which harms society, that we see some character traits as virtuous and others as vicious.

Here Hume has in mind those like Thomas Hobbes and Bernard Mandeville , who each believed that our moral judgments are the product of self-interest. Those qualities we consider virtuous are those that serve our interests, and those that we consider vicious are those that do not serve our interests. Hume gives a variety of arguments against this position. He contends that egoism cannot explain why we praise the virtues of historical figures EPM 5.

If moral evaluations are not the product of self-interest, then Hume concludes that they must be caused by some principle which gives us real concern for others. This is the principle of humanity. Hume admits that the sentiments produced by this principle might often be unable to overpower the influence that self-interest has on our actions. Since Hume thinks virtuous qualities benefit society, while vicious qualities harm society, one might conclude that Hume should be placed within the utilitarian moral tradition. Hume generates these categories by combining two different types of benefits that traits can have usefulness and immediate agreeability with two different types of benefactor that a trait can have the possessor of the trait herself and other people EPM 9.

Below is an outline of the four resulting sources of moral approval. Although being well-mannered has beneficial long-term consequences, Hume believes we also praise this trait because it is immediately pleasing to company. As we shall see below, this distinction implies that a trait can be praised for its immediate agreeability even if the trait has harmful consequences more broadly. The crux of this disagreement can be found in two definitions of virtue that Hume provides in the second Enquiry. The first definition suggests that virtue is defined in terms of its usefulness or agreeableness.

On this basis, we might interpret Hume as believing that a trait fails to qualify as a virtue if it is neither useful nor agreeable. This interpretation is also supported by places in the text where Hume criticizes approval of traits that fail to meet the standard of usefulness and agreeableness. The second definition, however, holds that what determines whether some character trait warrants the status of virtue is the ability of that trait to generate spectator approval. On this view, some trait is a virtue if it garners approval from a general point of view, and the sources of approval usefulness and agreability simply describe those features of character traits that human beings find praiseworthy.

The four-fold classification of virtue discussed above deals with the features of character traits that attract our approval or disapproval. In this context, the natural-artificial distinction tracks whether the entity in question results from the plans or designs of human beings T 3. On this definition, a tree would be natural whereas a table would be artificial. Unlike the former, the latter required some process of human invention and design. Hume believes that a similar type of distinction is present when we consider different types of virtue. There are natural virtues like benevolence, and there are artificial virtues like justice and rules of property. In addition to justice and property, Hume also classifies the keeping of promises T 3.

The designs that constitute the artificial virtues are social conventions or systems of cooperation. Hume describes the relationship between artificial virtues and their corresponding social conventions in different ways. The basic idea is that we would neither have any motive to act in accordance with the artificial virtues T 3. No social scheme is needed for us to approve of an act of kindness. However, the very existence of people who respect property rights, and our approval of those who respect property rights, requires some set of conventions that specify rules regulating the possession of goods.

As we will see, Hume believes the conventions of justice and property are based upon collective self-interest. In this way, Hume uses the artificial-natural virtue distinction to carve out a middle position in the debate between egoists like Hobbes and Mandeville , who believe that morality is a product of self-interest, and moral sense theorists like Shaftesbury and Hutcheson , who believe that our sense of virtue and vice is natural to human nature. The egoists are right that some virtues are the product of collective self-interest the artificial virtues , but the moral sense theorists are also correct insofar as other virtues the natural virtues have no relation to self-interest.

In Treatise 3. Understanding this argument requires establishing three preliminary points. So, his purpose here is to prove that the disposition to follow the rules of property is an artificial virtue. That is, it would make no sense to approve of those who are just, nor to act justly, without the appropriate social convention. For instance, imagine that someone has a job interview and knows she can improve her chances of success by lying to the interviewers.

She might still refrain from lying, not because this is what she desires, but because she feels it is her moral obligation. She has, thus, acted from a sense of duty. As we will see, Hume does not believe that the sense of duty can be an original motive to justice. One can only act justly from a sense of duty after some process of education, training, or social conditioning T 3. However, while Hume does believe that many first motives are original in human nature, it cannot be his position that all first motives are original in human nature. This is because he does not believe there is any original motive to act justly, but he does think there is a first motive to act justly.

His fundamental claim is that there is no original motive that can serve as the first virtuous motive of just actions. That is, there is nothing in the original state of human nature, prior to the influence of social convention, that could first motivate someone to act justly. However, if no original motive can be found that first motivates justice, then it follows that justice must be an artificial virtue. If the first motive for some virtue is not an original motive, then that virtue must be artificial. Hume points out that we often retract our blame of another person if we find out they had the proper motive, but they were prevented from acting on that motive because of unfortunate circumstances T 3.

Imagine a good-hearted individual who gives money to charity. Suppose also that, through no fault of her own, her donation fails to help anyone because the check was lost in the mail. In this case, Hume argues, we would still praise this person even though her donation was not beneficial. It is the willingness to help that garners our praise. Thus, the moral virtue of an action must derive completely from the virtuous motive that produces it. Now, assume for the sake of argument that the first virtuous motive of some action is a sense of duty to perform that action.

What would have to be the case for a sense of duty to be a virtuous motive that is worthy of praise? At minimum, it would have to be true that the action in question is already virtuous T 3. It would make no sense to claim that there is a sense of duty to perform action X, but also hold that action X is not virtuous. Unfortunately, this brings us back to where we began.

Thus, since some other motive must already be able to motivate just actions, a sense of duty cannot be the first motive to justice. From this, it follows that an action cannot be virtuous unless there is already some motive in human nature to perform it other than our sense, developed later, that performing the action is what is morally right T 3. The same, then, would hold for the virtue of justice. This does not mean that a sense of duty cannot motivate us to act justly T 3. Having dispensed with the claim that a sense of duty can be an original motive, Hume then considers and rejects three further possible candidates of original motives that one might claim could provide the first motive to justice.

These are: i self-interest, ii concern for the public interest, iii concern for the interests of the specific individual in question. Hume does not deny that each of these are original motives in human nature. Instead, he argues that none of them can adequately account for the range of situations in which we think one is required to act justly. Hume notes that unconstrained self-interest causes injustice T 3. Consequently, if there is no original motive in human nature that can produce just actions, it must be the case that justice is an artificial virtue. Hume begins his account of the origin of justice by distinguishing two questions.

Question 1: What causes human beings in their natural, uncultivated state to form conventions that specify property rights? That is, how do the conventions of justice arise? Question 2: Once the conventions of justice are established, why do we consider it a virtue to follow the rules specified by those conventions? In other words, why is justice a virtue? Hume does this by outlining an account of how natural human beings come to recognize the benefits of establishing and preserving practices of cooperation. Hume begins by claiming that the human species has many needs and desires it is not naturally equipped to meet T 3. Human beings can only remedy this deficiency through societal cooperation that provides us with greater power and protection from harm than is possible in our natural state T 3.

However, natural humans must also become aware that societal cooperation is beneficial. This is because the natural human desire to procreate, and care for our children, causes us to form family units T 3. The benefits afforded by this smaller-scale cooperation provide natural humans with a preview of the benefits promised by larger-scale societal cooperation. Unfortunately, while our experience with living together in family units shows us the benefits of cooperation, various obstacles remain to establishing it on a larger scale. One of these comes from familial life itself.

The conventions of justice require us to treat others equally and impartially. Justice demands that we respect the property rights of those we love and care for just as we respect the property rights of those whom we do not know. Yet, family life only strengthens our natural partiality and makes us place greater importance on the interests of our family members. This threatens to undermine social cooperation T 3. For this reason, Hume argues that we must establish a set of rules to regulate our natural selfishness and partiality. These rules, which constitute the conventions of justice, allow everyone to use whatever goods we acquire through our labor and good fortune T 3.

Justice remedies specific problems that human beings face in their natural state. If circumstances were such that those problems never arose, then the conventions of justice would be pointless. Certain background conditions must be in place for justice to originate. The remedy of justice is required because the goods we acquire are vulnerable to being taken by others T 3.

Regarding scarcity and human generosity, Hume explains that our circumstances lie at a mean between two extremes. If resources were so prevalent that there were enough goods for everyone, then there would be no reason to worry about theft or establish property rights EPM 3. On the other hand, if scarcity were too extreme, then we would be too desperate to concern ourselves with the demands of justice. Nobody worries about acting justly after a shipwreck EPM 3.

In addition, if humans were characterized by thoroughgoing generosity, then we would have no need to restrain the behavior of others through rules and restrictions EPM 3. By contrast, if human beings were entirely self-interested, without any natural concern for others, then there could be no expectation that others would abide by any rules that are established EPM 3. Justice is only possible because human life is not characterized by these extremes.

This is because Hume believes that promises themselves only make sense if certain human conventions are already established T 3. Thus, promises cannot be used to explain how human beings move from their natural state to establishing society and social cooperation. In addition to allowing for a sense of security, cooperation serves the common good by enhancing our productivity T 3. Our understanding of the benefits of social cooperation becomes more acute by a gradual process through which we steadily gain more confidence in the reliability of our peers T 3.

None of this requires an explicit agreement or promise. He draws a comparison with how two people rowing a boat can cooperate by an implicit convention without an explicit promise T 3. Although the system of norms that constitutes justice is highly advantageous and even necessary for the survival of society T 3. An individual act of justice can make the public worse off than it would have otherwise been.

Artificial virtues differ from the natural virtues in this respect T 3. If not every act of justice is beneficial, then why do we praise obedience to the rules of justice? The problem is especially serious for large, modern societies. When human beings live in small groups the harm and discord caused by each act of injustice is obvious. Yet, this is not the case in larger societies where the connection between individual acts of justice and the common good is much weaker T 3. Consequently, Hume must explain why we continue to condemn injustice even after society has grown larger and more diffuse. On this point Hume primarily appeals to sympathy. Suppose you hear about some act of injustice that occurs in another city, state, or country, and harms individuals you have never met.

While the bad effects of the injustice feel remote from our personal point of view, Hume notes that we can still sympathize with the person who suffers the injustice. Thus, even though the injustice has no direct influence upon us , we recognize that such conduct is harmful to those who associate with the unjust person T 3. Sympathy allows our concern for justice to expand beyond the narrow bounds of the self-interested concerns that first produced the rules. Thus, it is self-interest that motivates us to create the conventions of justice, and it is our capacity to sympathize with the public good that explains why we consider obedience to those conventions to be virtuous T 3.

Furthermore, we can now better understand how Hume answers the question of what first motivates us to act justly. As noted previously, it was in the immediate interest of early humans living in small societies to comply with the conventions of justice because the integrity of their social union hinged upon absolute fidelity to justice. As we will see below, this is not the case in larger, modern societies. However, all that is required for some motive to be the first motive to justice is that it is what first gives humans some reason to act justly in all situations.

The fact that this precise motive is no longer present in modern society does not prevent it from being what first motivates such behavior. Given that justice is originally founded upon considerations of self-interest, it may seem especially difficult to explain why we consider it wrong of ourselves to commit injustice in larger modern societies where the stakes of non-compliance are much less severe.

Here Hume believes that general rules bridge the gap. Hume uses general rules as an explanatory device at numerous points in the Treatise. For example, he explains our propensity to draw inferences based upon cause and effect through the influence of general rules T 1. When we consistently see one event or type of event follow another event or type of event , we automatically apply a general rule that makes us expect the former whenever we experience the latter. Something similar occurs in the present context. Through sympathy, we find that sentiments of moral disapproval consistently accompany unjust behavior.

Thus, through a general rule, we apply the same sort of evaluation to our own unjust actions T 3. Hume believes our willingness to abide by the conventions of justice is strengthened through other mechanisms as well. For instance, politicians encourage citizens to follow the rules of justice T 3. Thus, the praiseworthy motive that underlies compliance with justice in large-scale societies is, to a large extent, the product of social conditioning. This fact might make us suspicious. If justice is an artificial virtue, and if much of our motivation to follow its rules comes from social inculcation, then we might wonder whether these rules deserve our respect. Hume recognizes this issue.

In the Treatise he briefly appeals to the fact that having a good reputation is largely determined by whether we follow the rules of property T 3. Theft, and the unwillingness to follow the rules of justice, does more than anything else to establish a bad reputation for ourselves. Furthermore, Hume claims that our reputation in this regard requires that we see each rule of justice as having absolute authority and never succumb when we are tempted to act unjustly T 3. Suppose Hume is right that our moral reputation hangs on our obedience to the rules of justice. Even if true, it is not obvious that this requires absolute obedience to these rules.

What if I can act unjustly without being detected? What if I can act unjustly without causing any noticeable harm? Is there any reason to resist this temptation? Yet, the knave also recognizes that there will always be situations in which it is possible to act unjustly without harming the fabric of social society. So, the knave follows the rules of justice when he must, but takes advantage of those situations where he knows he will not be caught EPM 9.

Hume responds that, even if the knave is never caught, he will lose out on a more valuable form of enjoyment. The knave forgoes the ability to reflect pleasurably upon his own conduct for the sake of material gain. The person who has traded the peace of mind that accompanies virtue in order to gain money, power, or fame has traded away that which is more valuable for something much less valuable. The enjoyment of a virtuous character is incomparably greater than the enjoyment of whatever material gains can be attained through injustice. Thus, justice is desirable from the perspective of our own personal happiness and self-interest EPM 9. Hume admits it will be difficult to convince genuine knaves of this point.

That is, it will be difficult to convince someone who does not already value the possession of a virtuous character that justice is worth the cost EPM 9. If the ability to enjoy a peaceful review of our conduct is nearly universal in the human species, then Hume will have provided a reason to act justly that can make some claim upon nearly every human being.

When an individual within such a small society violates School Dress Code Individuality In Schools rule, the others are aware of it and exclude the offender from their Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists activities. He claims, Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists example, that the principles of morality are not speculative Texas Paul Documentary Summary, Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists the consciousness of a feeling that lives in every human breast and that extends much further Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists to the special grounds of sympathy and complaisance. This aesthetic sense does not come automatically to stainless steel advantages and disadvantages people with perfect vision and hearing, so it is fair Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists describe it as something extra, something not wholly reducible to vision and hearing. Anger, of course, is a response to something external. So the duty of allegiance to government, far from depending on the duty to fulfill promises, provides needed assurance that promises of Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists sorts will be kept. Second, because we Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists this lively impression of ourselves, Hume believes it follows Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists whatever is related to that Humes Views On Moral Sense Theorists must receive some share of that vivacity T 2.