About this topic

Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746) is known for being one of the first philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment. He influenced David Hume, Adam Smith, and Thomas Reid and even Immanuel Kant discussed his theories. Hutcheson was born in Ireland into a family of Scottish Presbyterians. He was one of the most brilliant professors of the University of Glasgow. He was the best advocate of the theories of moral sense and moral sentimentalism and was one of the pioneers of aesthetics. His moral and political principles had a strong influence not only in Europe but also in colonial America.

Key works Hutcheson’s most read works are his Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (first edition in 1725, see modern edition 2008) and his Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations upon the Moral sense (first edition in 1728, see modern edition 1742). The Essay, for example, gives an excellent account of the distinction he makes between justification and motivation of moral action and the major part of his aesthetic philosophy is contained in his Inquiry. There you can also find the phrase “greatest happiness of the greatest number” which will later be associated with Utilitarianism. The great influence the Stoics had on his philosophical thinking led him to work on a translation of The Meditations of M.Aurelius Antoninus from the Greek (1742, modern edition 2008). A System of Moral Philosophy (1755), published after his death, gives a complete revised system of the moral sense, in response to the “Self Interest Moralists” and to the attacks against the “Rational Moralists”.  The standard modern edition of Hutcheson’s work is the reprint (facsimiles of eighteenth-century editions of the individual works) by Georg Olms Verlag (1990).  Hutcheson’s writings are also available online on the website of The Online Library of Liberty. For the Liberty Fund online edition of the Inquiry (1726), see Fehige 2005.
Introductions Introduction articles include Broadie 2001 (Stanford Encyclopedia) and Rothbard 2011. About Hutcheson's politics, see Knud Haakonssen, for example 2012 and Gobetti 1992. On Natural Law and Rights, see Gregg 2009. On Hutcheson’s theory of aesthetics, see Dabney Townsend's works (2004, 2004, 1993). See also Kivy 2003. On Hutcheson's moral theory, see Stephen Darwall (1997). For a panoramic view of the articulation of Hutcheson’s moral sense philosophy between the two main influences of Locke and Shaftesbury, see Carey 2000. Bishop 1996 provides an introduction to moral motivation and the role of benevolence in Hutcheson’s works. Mortensen 1995 gives a good view of the articulation between Hutcheson’s aesthetics, social and political contexts. Scott 1900 remains the most detailed and complete introduction on Hutcheson’s life, influences and historical context.
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  1. Illustrations on the Moral Sense. [REVIEW]S. C. A. - 1972 - Review of Metaphysics 25 (3):556-557.
  2. Francis Hutcheson and Contemporary Ethical Theory. [REVIEW]W. W. A. - 1966 - Review of Metaphysics 19 (3):581-581.
  3. Francis Hutcheson and the Heathen Moralists.Thomas Ahnert - 2010 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 8 (1):51-62.
    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 (...)
  4. The Relation of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson to Utilitarianism.Ernest Albee - 1896 - Philosophical Review 5 (1):24-35.
  5. The Meaning of Incest From Hutcheson to Gibbon.Alfred Owen Aldridge - 1950 - Ethics 61 (4):309-313.
  6. The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Trans. Francis Hutcheson and James Moor.Marcus Aurelius Antoninus - 2008 - Liberty Fund.
    The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, trans. Francis Hutcheson and James Moor, edited and with an Introduction by James Moore and Michael Silverthorne (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008). Author: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Translator: Francis Hutcheson Translator: James Moor Editor: James Moore Editor: Michael Silverthorne .
  7. El Presunto Realismo Estético de Francis Hutcheson.Jorge Nicolás Vicente Arregui - 1992 - Thémata: Revista de Filosofía 10:629-658.
  8. Book Review:Francis Hutcheson: His Life, Teaching and Position in the History of Philosophy. W. R. Scott. [REVIEW]J. B. Baillie - 1901 - Ethics 11 (4):527-.
  9. Berkeley and Irish Philosophy.David Berman - 2005 - Thoemmes Continuum.
    George Berkeley -- On missing the wrong target -- Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment in Irish philosophy -- The culmination and causation of Irish philosophy -- Francis Hutcheson on Berkeley and the Molyneux problem -- The impact of Irish philosophy on the American Enlightenment -- Irish ideology and philosophy -- An early essay concerning Berkeley's immaterialism -- Mrs. Berkeley's annotations in An account of the life of Berkeley (1776) -- Some new Bermuda Berkeleiana -- The good bishop : new letters -- Beckett (...)
  10. The Jacobitism of Berkeley's Passive Obedience.David Berman - 1986 - Journal of the History of Ideas 47 (2):309-319.
    Why did the Lord Justices make strong representation against Berkeley? According to Joseph Stock, Berkeley's first biographer "Lord Galway [a Lord Justice in 1716] having heard of those sermons, published in 1712 as Passive Obedience represented Berkeley as a Jacobite, and hence unworthy of the living of St. Paul's. From the beginning, Passive Obedience was rumored to be politically heterodox...
  11. Moral Philosophy of Francis Hutcheson.J. D. Bishop - unknown
    The main object of this thesis is to explain in a systematic fashion Francis Hutcheson's moral theory. Such an attempt will necessarily involve a discussion of the various philosophical problems which are inherent in his theory. For example, I discuss the issue of whether Hutcheson's theory of the moral sense is to be interpreted in an intuitionist or an emotivist fashion. It is argued that some aspects of his moral sense theory favour the former and some the latter interpretation, Hutcheson's (...)
  12. Moral Motivation and the Development of Francis Hutcheson's Philosophy.John D. Bishop - 1996 - Journal of the History of Ideas 57 (2):277-295.
  13. Francis Hutcheson and Contemporary Ethical Theory.William T. Blackstone - 1965 - Athens, University of Georgia Press.
  14. "Motivation and the Moral Sense in Francis Hutcheson's Ethical Theory," by Henning Jensen.Vernon J. Bourke - 1973 - Modern Schoolman 51 (1):84-84.
  15. The Nature and Function of the Moral Sense in the Ethical Philosophies Ofshaftesbury and Hutcheson.John Roblin Murray Bristol - 1970 - Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada)
  16. Reid Making Sense of Moral Sense.Alexander Broadie - 2009 - In Sabine Roeser (ed.), Reid on Ethics. Palgrave-Macmillan.
  17. Hutcheson on Connoisseurship and the Role of Reflection.Alexander Broadie - 2009 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (2):351-364.
  18. Scottish Philosophy in the 18th Century.Alexander Broadie - 2001 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Philosophy was at the core of the eighteenth century movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment. The movement included major figures, such as Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid and Adam Ferguson, and also many others who produced notable works, such as Gershom Carmichael, George Turnbull, George Campbell, James Beattie, Alexander Gerard, Henry Home (Lord Kames) and Dugald Stewart. I discuss some of the leading ideas of these thinkers, though paying less attention than I otherwise would to Hume, Smith (...)
  19. Francis Hutcheson on Luxury and Intemperance: The Mandeville Threat.Lisa Broussois - 2015 - History of European Ideas 41 (8):1093-1106.
    This paper looks at two figures in the modern, European, eighteenth-century debate on luxury. It claims to better understand the differences between Francis Hutcheson and Bernard Mandeville by exploring how Hutcheson treated the topic of luxury as a distinction between two desires, thus differing from Mandeville's concept of luxury, and a concept of temperance based on moral sense. It explores why Hutcheson believed that luxury was a moral, social and political issue and particularly why he considered Mandeville the embodiment of (...)
  20. Francis Hutcheson, da beleza à perspectiva do desígnio.Lisa Broussois - 2014 - Discurso 44:97-126.
    O que é “a outra perspectiva nas obras da natureza”, de que fala Hutcheson? De que forma a beleza provê acesso a ela? O presente artigo discute o lugar dessa “outra perspectiva” na teoria estética de Francis Hutcheson. Trata-se de compreender por que o desígnio (design) surge do belo através de uma reflexão sobre a beleza em sua Investigação sobre a origem de nossas ideias da beleza e da virtude, de 1725. Buscaremos determinar se essa teoria estética estaria subordinada aos (...)
  21. Anatomie du sens moral : Hume et Hutcheson.Lisa Broussois - 2012/2013 - Philonsorbonne 7:169.
    Le présent article a pour objectif de mettre en évidence un aspect de l’influence de Francis Hutcheson sur la troisième partie du Traité de la Nature Humaine de David Hume, consacrée à la morale : Hume écrit, en effet, que l’être humain est doté d’un sens moral. Cependant, la distinction qu’il opère entre la philosophie de l’anatomiste et celle du peintre, dans cette œuvre, montre qu’il se refuse à suivre totalement l’exemple de Hutcheson. Hume compte bien, au contraire, approfondir et (...)
  22. Moral Sense Theorists.Charlotte Brown - 1992 - In Lawrence C. Becker & Charlotte B. Becker (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ethics. Garland Publishing. pp. 2--862.
  23. Francis Hutcheson in Dublin, 1719–1730: The Crucible of His Thought.Michael Brown - 2002
  24. La racionalidad práctica en Hutcheson.María Elton Bulnes - 2009 - Anuario Filosófico 42 (94):35-64.
  25. Witherspoon, Edwards and 'Christian Magnanimity'.H. G. Callaway - 2011 - In K. P. Minkema, A. Neele & K. van Andel (eds.), Jonathan Edwards and Scotland. Dunedin Academic Press. pp. 117-128.
    This paper focuses on John Witherspoon (1723-1794) and the religious background of the American conception of religious liberty and church-state separation, as found in the First Amendment. Witherspoon was strongly influenced by debates and conflicts concerning liberty of conscience and the independence of the congregations in his native Scotland; and he brought to his work, as President of the (Presbyterian) College of New Jersey, a moderate Calvinism challenging the conception of “true virtue” found in Jonathan Edwards. Witherspoon was teacher to (...)
  26. Francis Hutcheson’s Philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment: Reception, Reputation, and Legacy.Daniel Carey - 2015 - In Aaron Garrett & James Harris (eds.), Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century: Volume I: Morals, Politics, Art, Religion. Oxford University Press. pp. 36-76.
  27. Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson: Contesting Diversity in the Enlightenment and Beyond.Daniel Carey - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.
    Are human beings linked by a common nature, one that makes them see the world in the same moral way? Or are they fragmented by different cultural practices and values? These fundamental questions of our existence were debated in the Enlightenment by Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson. Daniel Carey provides an important new historical perspective on their discussion. At the same time, he explores the relationship between these founding arguments and contemporary disputes over cultural diversity and multiculturalism. Our own conflicting positions (...)
  28. Hutcheson's Moral Sense and the Problem of Innateness.Daniel Carey - 2000 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (1):103-110.
  29. Method, Moral Sense, and the Problem of Diversity: Francis Hutcheson and the Scottish Enlightenment.Daniel Carey - 1997 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 5 (2):275 – 296.
    (1997). Method, moral sense, and the problem of diversity: Francis Hutcheson and the Scottish enlightenment. British Journal for the History of Philosophy: Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 275-296.
  30. Hutcheson, Smith, and Utilitarianism.Maria A. Carrasco - 2011 - Review of Metaphysics 64 (3):515-553.
  31. England's Cultural Provinces: Scotland and America.John Clive & Bernard Bailyn - 1954 - The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 11 (2):200-213.
    The question of the origin of the "Scottish Renaissance"-that remarkable efflorescence of the mid-eighteenth century, with its roll call of great names: Hume, Smith, Robertson, Kames, and Ferguson- is one of those historical problems which have hitherto stubbornly resisted a definite solution. This may be due to its very nature; for, as the greatest of recent historians of Scotland has remarked, "We recognize as inadequate all attempts to explain the appearance of galaxies of genius at particular epochs in different countries."' (...)
  32. Review of Peter Kivy, The Seventh Sense: Francis Hutcheson and Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics[REVIEW]Timothy M. Costelloe - 2004 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004 (4).
  33. Hutcheson on Natural Religion.Benjamin D. Crowe - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (4):711 - 740.
    Recent scholars have examined the important role of English Deism in the formation of a modern naturalistic approach to the study of human religiosity. Despite the volume of important studies of various aspects of his thought, the role of Francis Hutcheson (1694?1746) in this development has been overlooked. The aim of this paper is to show how Hutcheson develops his own account of the origins of religion, consonant with his more well-known theories in aesthetics and moral philosophy, that diverges sharply (...)
  34. Illustrations on the Moral Sense.M. B. Crowe - 1975 - Philosophical Studies 24:272-273.
  35. Hutcheson on Practical Reason.Stephen Darwall - 1997 - Hume Studies 23 (1):73-89.
    I describe the various ways in which Hume's critique of practical reason derives from Hutcheson and then consider a tension that arises between Hutcheson's (and Hume's) critique of noninstrumental reasons and his account of calm passions.
  36. Francis Hutcheson: An Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, Design. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Peter Kivy. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. 1973. Pp. V, 123. Guilders 18,50. [REVIEW]Guy Désautels - 1975 - Dialogue 14 (3):525-526.
  37. Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, and Hume on the Theory of Taste.Nipada Devakul - 1982 - Dissertation, Boston College
    Shaftesbury contended that sensibility or what he called "a moral sense" or "taste" is a faculty by which man responds to moral and aesthetic values. Moral and aesthetic pleasures do not involve self-interest or possession. Morality and art are interelated. A virtuous man, like an artist, creates the harmony of affections in his mind according to the principle of harmony he discerns in nature. Correspondingly an artist, besides creating the work of art, should create most of all the beauty of (...)
  38. The Century of Taste: The Philosophical Odyssey of Taste in the Eighteenth Century.George Dickie - 1996 - Oxford University Press.
    The Century of Taste offers an exposition and critical account of the central figures in the early development of the modern philosophy of art. Dickie traces the modern theory of taste from its first formulation by Francis Hutcheson, to blind alleys followed by Alexander Gerard and Archibald Allison, its refinement and complete expression by Hume, and finally to its decline in the hands of Kant. In a clear and straightforward style, Dickie offers sympathetic discussions of the theoretical aims of these (...)
  39. The Seventh Sense: A Study of Francis Hutcheson's Aesthetics and its Influence in Eighteenth-Century Britain.George Dickie - 1980 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 18 (1):90-92.
  40. Hutcheson, Francis.Dale Dorsey - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
  41. Hutcheson's Deceptive Hedonism.Dale Dorsey - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (4):445-467.
    Francis Hutcheson’s theory of value is often characterized as a precursor to the qualitative hedonism of John Stuart Mill. The interpretation of Mill as a qualitative hedonist has come under fire recently; some have argued that he is, in fact, a hedonist of no variety at all.1 Others have argued that his hedonism is as non-qualitative as Bentham’s.2 The purpose of this essay is not to critically engage the various interpretations of Mill’s value theory. Rather, I hope to show that (...)
  42. :Francis Hutcheson in Dublin, 1719–1730: The Crucible of His Thought.R. S. Downie - 2003 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 1 (1):95-97.
  43. Review of Michael Brown: Francis Hutcheson in Dublin, 1719–1730: The Crucible of His Thought[REVIEW]R. S. Downie - 2003 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 1 (1):95-97.
  44. The Secret Chain: A Limited Defense of Sympathy.Julia Driver - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):234-238.
    This paper responds to criticisms of sympathy-based approaches to ethics made by Jesse Prinz, focusing on the criticism that emotions are too variable to form a basis for ethics. I draw on the idea, articulated by early sentimentalists such as Hutcheson and Hume, that proper reliance on sympathy is subject to a corrective procedure in order, in part, to avoid the variability problem.
  45. Hume and a Worry About Simplicity.Stewart Duncan - 2009 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (2):139-157.
    I discuss Hume's views about whether simplicity and generality are positive features of explanations. In criticizing Hobbes and others who base their systems of morality on self interest, Hume diagnoses their errors as resulting from a "love of simplicity". These worries about whether simplicity is a positive feature of explanations emerge in Hume's thinking over time. But Hume does not completely reject the idea that it's good to seek simple explanations. What Hume thinks we need is good judgment about when (...)
  46. Hutcheson's “Sentimentalist Deontology?”.Jeffrey Edwards - 2006 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 4 (1):17-36.
  47. Moral Sense and Natural Reason.Maria Elton - 2008 - Review of Metaphysics 62 (1):79-110.
    The concern of this paper is to relate the moral philosophy of Hutcheson with a traditional point of view, according to which moral philosophy depends on natural theology. The analysis of this relationship is important because it is a crucial feature of the Hutchesonian moral philosophy. However, this theological outlook does not entirely match his empirical moral epistemology, and this inconsistency allowed David Hume and Adam Smith to throw aside the theological foundation, taking from Hutcheson only the empirical aspects of (...)
  48. Hutcheson on Perception and Moral Perception.Fate Norton David - 1977 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 59 (2):181-197.
  49. Editing Hutcheson's Inquiry.Christoph Fehige - 2005 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 13 (3):563 – 574.
  50. On the Nature and Conduct of the Passions with Illustrations on Moral Sense, 1728.FRANCIS HUTCHESON - 1999 - Clinamen Press.
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