The Last Artificial Virtue

Political Theory 37 (4):511-538 (2009)
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Abstract

David Hume’s position on religion is, broadly speaking, “politic”: instrumental and consequentialist. Religions should be tolerated or not according to their effects on political peace and order. Such theories of toleration are often rejected as immoral or unstable. The reading provided here responds by reading Hume’s position as one of radically indirect consequentialism. While religious policy should serve consequentialist ends, making direct reference to those ends merely gives free reign to religious-political bigotry and faction. Toleration, like Hume’s other “artificial virtues” (justice, fidelity to promises, allegiance to government), is a universally useful response to our universal partiality—as established uniformity, however tempting, is not. This implies that toleration can progress through political learning, becoming broader and more constitutionally established over time. A sophisticated Humean approach thus shares the stability and normative attractiveness of respect- or rights-based arguments while responding more acutely and flexibly to problems the former often slights: antinomian religious extremism; underdefined political agency; and internationalized, politicized religious movements

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Realist liberalism: an agenda.Andrew Sabl - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (3):366-384.
Does hope morally vindicate faith?Anne Jeffrey - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (1-2):193-211.

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