Human Nature and the Accessibility of Morality in Cudworth, Hutcheson, and Hume

Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1995)

Authors
Michael B. Gill
University of Arizona
Abstract
Impressed by morality's internal accessibility and motivational force, philosophers from the Greeks to the present day have advanced the view that moral distinctions originate in human nature. Every incarnation of this view, however, has had to face one central question: what is it about human nature that justifies some moral judgments and not others? This dissertation charts the rise and fall of one approach to that question, that contained in the works of the British moralists of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. ;I argue, in the first four chapters, that in this period rationalists and sentimentalists alike collapsed justificatory questions into explanatory ones. I show how this collapse followed naturally from a widely-held theological conception of human nature, according to which it was possible to establish an immediate explanatory link between our original God-given constitution and some of our moral judgments. ;Against this background I turn, in chapters five and six, to David Hume, who shared his predecessors' commitment to founding moral distinctions in human nature but whose associative account severed the link between the explanation and justification of moral judgments. I maintain that Hume's work not only exposed the untenability of the theologically-based justificatory commitments of his predecessors but also casts serious doubt on contemporary efforts to ground normativity on reflexivity. Hume himself, I argue, makes plausible the suggestion that moral justification should be grounded not on the origins of judgments but on human ends that cannot and need not be justified in terms of anything else
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,617
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Hume Literature, 1995.William E. Morris - 1996 - Hume Studies 22 (2):387-400.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Hume's Alleged Success Over Hutcheson.Noriaki Iwasa - 2011 - Synthesis Philosophica 26 (2):323-336.
The British Moralists on Human Nature and the Birth of Secular Ethics. (Review).Laurent Jaffro - 2008 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (2):pp. 323-324.
Facts and Feelings.Thomas Michael North - 1983 - Dissertation, University of Oregon
Sentimentalism and the Is-Ought Problem.Noriaki Iwasa - 2011 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (3):323-352.
Recasting Scottish Sentimentalism: The Peculiarity of Moral Approval.Remy Debes - 2012 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 10 (1):91-115.
Hume's Rejection of "Ought" as a Moral Category.Nicholas Capaldi - 1966 - Journal of Philosophy 63 (5):126-137.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-02-06

Total views
0

Recent downloads (6 months)
0

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes