Francis Hutcheson and John Clarke on Desire and Self-Interest

The European Legacy 24 (1): 1-24 (2019)

Authors
John J. Tilley
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
Abstract
Among the most animating debates in eighteenth-century British ethics was the debate over psychological egoism, the view that our most basic desires are self-interested. An important episode in that debate, less well known than it should be, was the exchange between Francis Hutcheson and John Clarke of Hull. In the early editions of his Inquiry into Virtue, Hutcheson argued ingeniously against psychological egoism; in his Foundation of Morality, Clarke argued ingeniously against Hutcheson’s arguments. Later, Hutcheson attempted new arguments against psychological egoism, designed to overcome Clarke’s objections. This article examines the exchange between these philosophers. Its conclusion, influenced partly by Clarke, is that psychological egoism withstands Hutcheson’s arguments. This is not to belittle those arguments—indeed, they are among the most resourceful and plausible of their kind. The fact that egoism withstands them is thus not a mere negative result, but a stimulus to consider carefully the ways in which progress in this area may be possible.
Keywords Francis Hutcheson  John Clarke of Hull  psychological egoism  psychological hedonism  self-interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2018, 2019
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1080/10848770.2018.1471902
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
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

A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Altruism.Stephen Stich, John M. Doris & Erica Roedder - 2010 - In John M. Doris & The Moral Psychology Research Group (eds.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

John Clarke of Hull's Argument for Psychological Egoism.John J. Tilley - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (1):69-89.
Hutcheson's Theological Objection to Egoism.John J. Tilley - 2016 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1):101-123.
The Problem of Inconsistency in Wollaston's Moral Theory.John J. Tilley - 2012 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 29 (3):265–80.
Wollaston's Early Critics.John J. Tilley - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (6):1097-1116.
Hutcheson's Divergence From Shaftesbury.Simon Grote - 2006 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 4 (2):159-172.
Hutcheson, Francis.Phyllis Vandenberg & Abigail DeHart - 2013 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Hutcheson's Deceptive Hedonism.Dale Dorsey - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (4):445-467.
Morality and Rational Self-Interest.David P. Gauthier - 1970 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.
Hume's Alleged Success Over Hutcheson.Noriaki Iwasa - 2011 - Synthesis Philosophica 26 (2):323-336.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-04-28

Total views
234 ( #32,355 of 2,311,195 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
44 ( #16,909 of 2,311,195 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature