Indirect utility, justice, and equality in the political thought of David Hume

Critical Review 14 (4):375-389 (2000)
Abstract Differing interpretations of the political thought of David Hume have tended to emphasize either conservative, gradualist elements similar to Burke or rationalist aspects similar to Hobbes. The concept of indirect utility as used by Hume reconciles these two approaches. Indirect utility is best illustrated by Hume's conception of justice, in contrast to his conception of benevolence, which yields direct benefits. This understanding of Hume's consequentialism also helps underscore certain egalitarian aspects of Hume's thought.
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