The General Point of View: Love and Moral Approval in Hume's Ethics

Hume Studies 25 (1-2):3-42 (1999)
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Abstract

Hume thinks moral judgments are based on sentiments of approval and disapproval we feel when we contemplate someone from a "general point of view." We view her through the eyes of her "narrow circle" and judge her in accordance with general rules. Why do we take up the general point of view? Hume also argues that approval is a calm form of love, love of character, which sets a normative standard for other forms of love. In this paper I explain why, and argue that character, as a form of causality, is constructed from the point of view of one's narrow circle. We take up the general view to view people as persons, that is, as possible objects of love

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