the role of justice in Hume's theory of psychological development

Hume Studies 32 (2):253-276 (2006)
Hume’s theory of justice, intricately linked to his account of moral development, is at once simplistic and mysterious, combining familiar conventionalistelements with perplexing, complicated elements of his rich moral psychology. These dimensions of his theory make interpreting it no easy task, although many have tried. Emerging from these many different attempts is a picture of Hume as defending an account of justice according to which justice consists of expedient rules designed to advance one’s self-interest. The mistake of this view, I argue, lies in its narrow focus on the material rather than psychological effects of the conventions of justice. My goal here is to isolate the psychological effects of the rules of justice by analyzing the psychological transformation of the parties who morally commit to justice.
Keywords Hume
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DOI hume20063223
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