Sieges, Shipwrecks, and Sensible Knaves: Justice and Utility in Butler and Hume

Journal of Religious Ethics 28 (2):253 - 280 (2000)
By examining the theories of justice developed by Joseph Butler and David Hume, the author discloses the conceptual limits of their moral naturalism. Butler was unable to accommodate the possibility that justice is, at least to some extent, a social convention. Hume, who more presciently tried to spell out the conventional character of justice, was unable to carry through that project within the framework of his moral naturalism. These limits have gone unnoticed, largely because Butler and Hume have been misinterpreted, their relation misconstrued. Exegetes have persistently misunderstood the differences that divide them, have misconceived the notion of "public utility" in Hume's account of justice, have wrongly interpreted Butler as a forerunner of Immanuel Kant, and have altogether missed the degree to which Hume stands in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas
Keywords Hume  convention  Butler  justice  utility  Aquinas
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/0384-9694.00046
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
J. Salter (2012). Hume and Mutual Advantage. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 11 (3):302-321.
Paul Russell (2004). Butler's "Future State" and Hume's "Guide of Life". Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (4):425-448.
Terence Penelhum (1988). Butler and Hume. Hume Studies 14 (2):251-276.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

21 ( #222,679 of 1,924,713 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #308,186 of 1,924,713 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.