Moral sense and sentimentalism

In Roger Crisp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 358 (2013)

Julia Driver
University of Texas at Austin
This chapter focuses on sentimentalism – the view that morality is based on sentiment – in particular, the sentiment of sympathy. Sentimentalism was historically articulated in opposition to two positions: Hobbesian egoism, in which morality is based on self-interest; and Moral Rationalism, which held that morality is based on reason alone. The Sentimentalists challenged both views, arguing that there is more to what motivates human beings than simple self-interest and that reason alone is insufficient to motivate our actions, including our moral actions. The philosophies of Anthony Ashley Cooper, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith are considered. The discussion then turns to sympathy, moral realism, moral virtue, and psychological realism.
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DOI 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199545971.013.0017
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