Thursday, August 11, 2022

What is Hume's Theory?

What is Hume's Theory?

What is hume's theory? Do you know about hume's theory? This article lets you know what it is. In ethics, Hume's position is based on his empiricist theory of the mind. It is famous for asserting four theses—

  • The reason is not a motive to the will; instead, it is the "slave of the passions." 
  • Moral distinctions are not derived from reason. 
  • These are derived from moral sentiments. 
  • Vices & virtues are natural, but justice and others are artificial.

He defends these within his ethic of virtue and vice. His major ethical writings are Book 3 of his Treatise of Human Nature, "Of Morals", etc. "Of Morals" is based on Book 2, "Of the Passions". Besides, he wrote the Principles of Morals and some Essays. The moral Enquiry is responsible for recasting central ideas from the moral part of the Treatise in a more accessible style. But you can find major differences.

What is Hume's theory and what are the issues from his Predecessors:

He inherits some controversies from his predecessors about ethics and political philosophy. However, a question arises from moral epistemology how do people believe in moral good and evil? How does a human being acquire right and wrong knowledge, duty and obligation?

According to the Ethical theorists and theologians of the day, moral good and evil are considered to be good or bad by Hobbes, Locke, Clarke, etc. Divine revelation and conscience are also some of the reasons.

He said that people had gained awareness of moral good and evil when they experienced the happiness of approval and the uneasiness of disapproval. In addition, he also maintains against the rationalists that reason alone is not enough to yield a judgment. It is because reason is required to find the facts of any concrete situation. Besides, the reason also needs practice over time or the social impact of a character trait. The facts must trigger a response in the last analysis by sentiment or taste.

You might get a related controversy that is more metaphysical, i.e. which one is the source or foundation of moral norms? Which one is the ground of moral obligation? Clarke, the moral rationalist of the period, says that moral standards are the needs of reason. Samuel Pufendorf was one of the Divine voluntarists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He claimed that moral obligation or requirement is the product of God's will. Shaftesbury and Hutcheson, moral sense theorists, and Butler see all need to pursue goodness and avoid evil. It is designed uniquely so that a feature of consciousness can evaluate the rest. He sides with the moral sense theorists on this question. The reason is that people are such creatures who feel pain and pleasure with their dispositions. Moral needs bind them.

Do moral requirements are natural or conventional? 

A question arises that you can face. Hobbes and Mandeville can find them as conventional. Besides, Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Locke, and others think it is natural. He mocks Mandeville's contention. Concepts of vice and virtue are foisted on people by scheming politicians who want to manage people easily. But if nothing is in your experience and no sentiments are there to create the concept of virtue, no lavish praise of heroes might create it.

Therefore, if you think in a way, moral requirements have a natural origin. However, he thinks that natural human impulses and dispositions cannot face the virtue of justice. It is a proper analysis of the virtue which can reveal to humankind. It has made property rules and promises cooperatively. In this way, he takes an intermediate position where a few virtues are natural, and a few of them are the products of the convention.

Linked with the meta-ethical controversies represents the understanding of the ethical life like the earlier people do for the virtues and vices of character or like the "moderns" do for the principles of duty or natural law. A thinker like Hobbes offers a good deal to say about virtue. In addition, the ethical writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries provided a governed law understanding of morals. It can offer priority to natural laws or principles of duty.

What is the exception case hence is the moral sense school. It can advocate an analysis of the moral life of the Greek and Hellenistic thinkers for the settled traits of character. However, they can find a location for principles in their ethics. He favours an ethic of character with "ancient" lines. Even he forces on a role for rules of duty within artificial virtues domain.

His predecessors opposed whether human nature was essentially selfish or benevolent. There are a few people who are discussing or arguing that self-interested motives are something that dominates man. These motives are for moral requirements to govern people so that they serve interests similarly. On the flip side, some people argue that uncorrupted people usually care about the weal and woe of others. As a result, morality plays a major role hence. He also criticizes Hobbes for his insistence on psychological egoism and dismal, violent picture of a state of nature.

He can resist the view of Hutcheson that it is possible to decrease all moral principles to benevolence. The reason is that there is a doubt on his mind regarding benevolence. It is that benevolence can overcome our normal acquisitiveness. As per Hume's observation, people are selfish and humane. He also said that people have greed and limited generosity. It is the disposition to kindness and liberality. These are directed strongly toward kin and friends.


Hume thinks that the condition of humankind is not a war for organized society. Besides, it is a law-governed and highly cooperative domain. You can find it a hypothetical condition where people generally care for their friends and cooperate with them. But self-interest and preference for friends over strangers might make any wider cooperation impossible. The thesis of Hume, based on empiric, says that people are loving and parochial. It also indicates that people are selfish creatures underlying his political philosophy.

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