Our understanding of the philosophers of the past is not always assisted by the attempt to fit them under one or other of the categories that we currently use to map the philosophical landscape. We have grown used to the idea that there are three principal kinds of moral theory—deontological and broadly Kantian, consequentialist and broadly Millian, virtue-theoretic and broadly Aristotelian—and so historical approaches to moral philosophy tend to orientate themselves by assuming that each and every object of study must (...) count as one or other of these kinds of moralist. This is unfortunate. It is particularly unfortunate in respect of the moral philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Philosophers .. (shrink)
In this paper I consider the context and significance of the first instalment of Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature , Books One and Two, on the understanding and on the passions, published in 1739 without Book Three. I argue that Books One and Two taken together should be read as addressing the question of the relation between reason and passion, and place Hume's discussion in the context of a large early modern philosophical literature on the topic. Hume's goal is (...) to show that the passions do not require government by reason, and to illustrate various ways in which the passions of social beings regulate themselves. The underlying theme of the first Treatise is thus a new theory of sociability: sympathetic sociability. (shrink)
It is shown that belief in providence and a future state are key components of Hutcheson’s account of moral virtue. Though Hutcheson holds that human beings are naturally virtuous, religion is necessary to give virtuous dispositions support and stability. The aspects of Hutcheson’s moral psychology which lead him to this conclusion are spelled out in detail. It is argued that religion and virtue are connected in this way in both the Dublin writings (the Inquiry and the Essay ) and the (...) later pedagogical texts, and that, therefore, there are reasons to question claims made by James Moore to the effect that Hutcheson had two distinct philosophical “systems.”. (shrink)
This chapter provides a new way of understanding the places in Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding where use is made of the language of Calvinist fideism: most notably, in Sections 8, 10, and 12. Hume's deployment of such language, it is argued, needs to be seen in the context of the conflict within the Church of Scotland between the ‘orthodox’ and the ‘modernizers’. It was the modernizers such as Francis Hutcheson and William Leechman who had been instrumental in denying Hume (...) the Edinburgh moral philosophy chair in 1745, and, as M. A. Stewart has argued, the first Enquiry is best seen as a response to that episode. In various ways it attacks the modernizers' way of combining natural religion with neo-Stoic ethics: Hume's use of the language of the ‘orthodox’ opponents of that strategy is one of those ways. It is pointed out that later on in the eighteenth century, some of the orthodox quote Hume's attacks on rational religion with approval. The chapter does not claim that Hume had any sympathy with the orthodox agenda. Rather, it is concerned with the complex rhetorical strategies used by Hume in his writings on religion. (shrink)
The eighteenth century was a time of brilliant philosophical innovation in Britain. In Of Liberty and Necessity James A. Harris presents the first comprehensive account of the period's discussion of what remains a central problem of philosophy, the question of the freedom of the will. He offers new interpretations of contributions to the free will debate made by canonical figures such as Locke, Hume, Edwards, and Reid, and also discusses in detail the arguments of some less familiar writers. Harris puts (...) the eighteenth-century debate about the will and its freedom in the context of the period's concern with applying what Hume calls the "experimental method of reasoning" to the human mind. His book will be of substantial interest to historians of philosophy and anyone concerned with the free will problem. (shrink)
There are gaps in the Social and Ethical issues literature regarding the structure of individual ethical reasoning and the process through which personal ethical standards erode or decline. Social Penetration Theory may be used to view ethical issues of low, moderate, or high salience. It also produces a model of the process by which an individual turns to less desirable ethical reasoning and behavior.
Using a nationwide survey, this study compared the ethical values and decision processes ofFortune executives and MBA students. Statistically significant differences in ethical values were found by class of respondent, gender, and professed decision approach. MBAs were also found to process ethical decisions differently than business professionals.
This study examines the ethical values of respondents by level in the organizational hierarchy of a single firm. It also explores the possible impacts of gender, education and years of experience on respondents' values as well as their perceptions of how the organization and professional associations influence their personal values. Results showed that, although there were differences in individuals' ethical values by hierarchical level, significantly more differences were observed by the length of tenure with the organization. While respondents, as a (...) whole, were rather ambivalent in their perception of the organization's and professional associations' influence on their values, sales/service persons frequently felt pressured to modify their values in order to achieve company goals. (shrink)