Morality and feeling in the scottish enlightenment

Philosophy 76 (2):271-282 (2001)
This paper argues that a recurrent mistake is made about Scottish moral philosophy in the 18th century with respect to its account of the relation between morality and feeling. This mistake arises because Hume is taken to be the main, as opposed to the best known, exponent of a version of moral sense theory. In fact, far from occupying common ground, the other main philosophers of the period—Hutcheson, Reid, Beattie—understood themselves to be engaged in refuting Hume. Despite striking surface similarities, closer examination reveals a deep difference between Hume's and Reid's conception of ‘the science mind’ which marked the philosophy of the period. Properly understood, this difference shows that mainstream Scottish moral philosophy, far from subscribing to Hume's dictum about morality being ‘more properly felt than judged of’, held that morality is ‘more properly judged than felt of’
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819101000274
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