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An Enuiry Concerning the Principles of Morals

An Enuiry Concerning the Principles of Morals review Ó eBook or Kindle ePUB Hers and providing a persuasive account of Hume's ethical naturalism Martha C Nussbaum Brown University. After A Treatise of Human Nature 1739 according to David Hume himself fell dead bron from the press he decided to lay out the two main themes of this huge work epistemology and morality in two new works In An Enuiry Concerning Human Understanding 1748 Hume gives an overview on his epistemology while in An Enuiry Concerning the Principles of Morals 1751 he sets out his theory of human emotionsHume s main thoughts on ethics are easy to summarize He thinks human nature is the origin of morality passions guide our behaviour while reason cannot motivate us to act reason is a slave of the passions Therefore we need to study mankind in order to understand and prescribe morality How does this work Well first of all we have feelings of empathy for others we feel with them Second when dealing with others we notice their character traits and behaviours and these acts provoke feelings of approval or disapproval In other words we form mental associations between feelings of approval or disapproval and particular acts This leads to our feelings of good and bad ie ethics good acts are acts that are accompanied by our feelings of approval bad acts are acts that are accompanied by our feelings of disapproval This is an emotivistic theory of morality morality is based on human emotionspassions In approaching ethics this way Hume breaks with the tradition of 17th and 18th cenutry contract theorists like Hobbes and Locke who saw mankind as a brutal animal in a state of nature in need of hard rulers to enforce peace safety and liberty Hume acknowledges human beings as not only selfish but also cooperative Man in the state of nature lives in groups and cooperates regularly with his fellow beingsWhy is it necessary to live in states and coerce people to follow the laws Well this is because according to Hume there are two types of virtues Natural virtues are the virtues that mankind already possesses in his original state cultural virtues are virtues that only exist in states These cultural virtues reuire the existence of institutions This is the only reason for the existence of a state This is a very important historical lesson human beings don t need to be forced into cooperation or into sympathy they only need to be kept in check But apart from being an emotivist Hume also was a determinist He subscribed to scientific knowledge as the only source of human knowledge Newton s mechanics were the source of Hume s original philosophical work but this inevitably leads to the conclusion that Nature is determined by natural laws So where s the room for human freedom Aren t we determined by Nature Well this is a thorny uestion it still is and Hume is not able to resolve it He decides to define freedom as not being shackled or in prison ie your own volition not limited by externally restrictions but this leaves open the uestion of internal restrictions What if we want to uit smoking but simply can t And freedom might not even be a uestion of dichotomoty you either have it or you don t but be a gradual concept something that contemporary philosopher Daniel Dennett has written about at large and has convinced me of its truthI decided to write down all of my notes on Hume s approach of morality politics and freedom collected from his other books as well so not all of the topics in this review are treated in the book that s being reviewed

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An Enuiry Concerning the Principles of Morals review Ó eBook or Kindle ePUB Cal context clarifying its relationship to Calvinism to Newtonian science and to earlier moral philosop. It would be one thing if all Hume did was ask the uestion instead he gives some uite pathetic answers that professors still cram down student s throats

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An Enuiry Concerning the Principles of Morals review Ó eBook or Kindle ePUB A splendid edition Schneewind's illuminating introduction succinctly situates the Enuiry in its histori. Well this was disappointingI say this because Hume s first Enuiry was brilliant unforgettably so There we see Hume as one of the most subtle most penetrating and most profound thinkers in Western history Here we see him don the hat of a common moralist Instance briefly come instance As You Like ItHume apparently shared the English love for instances He fills up entire chapters with example after example of moral and immoral acts He drones away like a pontificating prefect It s almost embarrassingThis would have been excusable if he was making a sufficiently complicated point but he is arguing that humans have a special moral sense and naturally feel pleasure when doing moral acts If this is true then we certainly don t need an entire book to demonstrate itI would rate this book lower but Hume can t help letting his brilliance occasionally shine through

  • Paperback
  • 128
  • An Enuiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
  • David Hume
  • English
  • 11 April 2019
  • 9780915145454