Francis Hutcheson and the Heathen Moralists

Journal of Scottish Philosophy 8 (1):51-62 (2010)
Throughout his career Hutcheson praised the achievements of the pagan moral philosophers of classical antiquity, the Stoics in particular. In recent secondary literature his moral theory has been characterized as a synthesis of Christianity and Stoicism. Yet Hutcheson's attitude towards the ancient heathen moralists was more complex and ambivalent than this idea of ‘Christian Stoicism’ suggests. According to Hutcheson, pagans who did not believe in Christ and who had never even heard of him were capable of virtue, and even, he asserted controversially, of salvation. Yet Hutcheson did not think that the virtue of pagans, let alone their salvation, was a result of their moral philosophical theories. Hutcheson's applause for pagan philosophy as an intellectual achievement did not indicate a commitment to it, but was based on a detached and cautious evaluation that involved significant reservations concerning the truth and usefulness of pagan ethical thought
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References found in this work BETA
Simon Grote (2006). Hutcheson's Divergence From Shaftesbury. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 4 (2):159-172.
James A. Harris (2008). Religion in Hutcheson's Moral Philosophy. Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (2):pp. 205-222.

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