Humes Ethics

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Hume’s Ethics Contents 1. Introduction 2. Hume’s ethics as an emotive theory of ethics 3. Conclusion 4. Bibliography David Hume is an outstanding Scottish philosopher of the 18th century whose views has a significant impact on the following generations of thinkers throughout the world. His sceptical arguments concerning induction, causation and especially religion, including his famous thesis that human knowledge arises only from sense experience and not from rational judgments, shaped the 19th and 20th century empiricist philosophy. His famous saying that ‘reason is the slave of the passions’ is a cornerstone of his ethical views largely explains the emotive character of his ethics. Hume’s ethics as an emotive theory of ethics…show more content…
However, he reminds that the reason alone can motivate nothing – reason discovers matters of fact and logic, and it depends on individual’s desires and preferences. Consequently, reason alone cannot motivate moral beliefs. On the other hand Hume does not absolutely deny the role of reason since it works though under the influence of human emotions and desires. Furthermore, Hume advanced the idea that the explanation of moral principles is to be sought in the utility they tend to promote. At this respect it is quite noteworthy to mention that Hume argues that moral spectators approve of benevolence and benevolence is approved of because it has utility. At the same time, it should be said that Hume’s ethic theory is not deprived of some controversial points. For instance, attempting to determine whether an agent’s motivating character trait is natural or artificial, he decides this one virtue at a time. For him, the natural virtues include benevolence, meekness, charity and generosity. By contrast, the artificial virtues include justice, keeping promises, allegiance and chastity. Paradoxically in fact, Hume classes the key virtues that are necessary for well-ordered state as artificial, and he classes only the more supererogatory virtues as natural. Conclusion Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that Hume’s ethical views are based on denying the role of reason and
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