Hume s Ethical Writings
340 pages
English

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Writing in an age that exalted reason, the Scottish-born skeptic David Hume was the first modern philosopher to emphasize the role of psychology, or “passion,” in the formulation of moral judgments and ethical systems. Included in this edition of his writings is the entire text of An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals and selections from other works such as A Treatise on Human Nature and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Alasdair MacIntyre clarifies the relationship of Hume’s intellect to his Calvinist background and cogently summarizes his importance to the development of moral philosophy.


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Publié par
Date de parution 25 mars 1994
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268158156
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 16 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1800€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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Edited, with on Introduction by
Alasdair
Macintyre
11UME'S
ETl11CAL
'VRITINGS
Selections from David Hume Hume on Moralit
In ever sstem of morality, which I have hitherto met
with, I have always remark' d, that the author proceeds for
some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes
the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human
afairs; when of a sudden I am surpriz'd to fnd, that instead
of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet
with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, o
an ought not. This change i imperceptible, but is, however,
of the last consequence. For a thi ought or ought not, ex­
presses some new relation or afrmation, 'tis necessar that
it shou'd be observ'd and explain'd; and at the same time that
reason should be given for what seems altogether inconceiv­a
able, how thi new relation can be a deduction from others
which are entirely diferent from it. But a authors do not
commonly use thi precaution, I shall presume to recommend
it to the readers; and am persuaded, that thi small attention
wou'd subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let u
see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded
merely on the relation of objects, nor is perceiv'd by reaon.
-from A Treatse of Huan Nature Edited, with on Introduction by
Alasdair
Macintyre
11UME'S
El11CAL
'VRITINGS
Selections from David Hume
University of Notre Dome Press
Notre Dome Mac Humes pg iv:MacIntyre pg iv 6 20 03 7/9/09 5:01 PM Page iv
Copyright © 1965 by
The Macmillan Company
University of Notre Dame Press Edition 1979
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
www.undpress.nd.edu
All Rights Reserved
Published in the United States of America
Reprinted in 1985, 1989, 1992, 1999,
2002, 2003, 2009
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hume, David, 1711–1776.
Hume’s ethical writings.
Reprint of the ed. published by Collier Books,
New York, which was issued in series: Collier
classics in the history of thought.
1. Ethics—Collected works. I. MacIntyre,
Alasdair C. II. Title
[B1455.M22 1979] 171 79-1346
ISBN 0-268-01074-9 (cl. : alk. paper)
ISBN 13: 978-0-268-01073-7 (pbk. : alk. paper)
ISBN 10: 0-268-01073-0 (pbk. : alk. paper)
∞ This book is printed on acid-free paper.II
Contents
Editor's Introduction 9
A Note on the Tex 19
Enquir
An Enquir Concerning the Principles of Morals
I. Of the Genera Principles of Mora s 23
II. Of Benevolence 29
35 III. Of Justice
N. Of Political Societ 54
V. Why Ut it Pleases 60
VI. Of Qualities Usefl to Ourselves 78
VII. Of Qualities Immediately Ag eeable to Ourselves 93
103 VIII. Of Qualities Imediately Agreeable to Others
I. Conclusion 109
Appendix
I. Concerg Moral Sentient 124
133 II. Of Self-love
III. Some Fuer Considerations wt Rega d to Justice 140
147 N. Of Some Verbal Disputes
A Dialogue 151
A Treatise of Human Nature
Book II. Of the Passions 177
Pa III. Of the Wil and Diect Passions.
Section . Of the Infuencing Motives of
te Wil 297
Book il. Of Mora 183
Pa I. Of Virtue and Vice i General.
Section I. Mora Distictions Not Deriv'd
fom Reaon
I. Moral Distinctions Deriv'd
from a Moral Sense
Pa II. Of Jutice and Injustice 203
Secton L Jutce, Wether a Natural or
Acial Virtue
IL Of te Origi of Jutice ad
P oper
Stion V. Of te Obligation of Pomses
Pa il. Of te Othr Vi ad Vices 236
Seon I. Of te Orign of te Natal
Vi ad Vi
Essays
Of te Oga Ctat 255
Of t Stadad of Tat 275
Of Scide
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
Pa X 309
Pa X 320
Index
335 EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION lntrodudion
AN INTRODUCTION should introduce. I should not be a at­
tempt at a substitute for the book which it is introducing. So
I shall not try here to sum arise adequately the argents
which Hume uses in those parts of his writings which follow.
I shall t rather to relate those arguments in a simple way
to the general body of his work and to his life. The second
task is necessar, if only because his style is so personal that
you cannot confont the arguments and escape the man.
He had in one sense an uneventful life. He had a great
liking for the "civilities and gay Company of Paris" and for
their equivalents in the polite society of Edinburgh and Lon­
don. These were the background to his constant philosophical
and historical studies, apart from two interludes. In the earlier
of thee he served frst as a staf ofcer in 17 46 in the Medi­
teranean and after that as an aide-de-camp to General Sin­
clair at Vienna and Turin. In the later period he was frst
Secretar and then Charge d'Afaires at the British Embassy
in Paris in 1765-66, following this up with a spell as Under­
Secretary of State in London. He was, as he said of himself
in My Own Life (and it is a mark of Hume's rare objectivity
that others said precisely the same) "a man of Mild Dispo­
sition, of Government of Temper, of an open, soial and
cheerfl Humour, capable of Attachment, but little susceptible
of Enmity, and of great Moderation i all my Passions. Even
my Love of literary fame, my ruling Passion, never soured
my humour, not withstanding my fequen t Disappointments."
The disappointments were indeed fequ ent. His historica
writings on the Tudor and Stuart monarchy caused clamou
and controversy; his philosophical writings, notably contro
versial as they were, seemed at the time to pass almost u ­
noticed. "Never litera Attempt wa more unortunate tha
9 10 I Intoducon
my Treatise of human Nature," he wrote of his frst publica­
tion in 1738. "It fell dead-born from the Press; without reach­
ing such distinction as even to excite a Murmur among the
Zealots." And again, after remarking that the publication of
his Political Discourses in 1752 was marked with immediate
success, he has to add that "In the same Year was published
at London my Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals,
whch, in my own opinion (who ought not to judge on that
subject) is of all my writings, historical, philosophical or liter­
ar, incomparably the best; It came unnoticed and unobserved
into the World." If all this suggests a calm and engaging per­
sonality, it suggests no more than was constantly remarked
upon by Hume's contemporaries. But there was deep in Hume
a less often revealed and darker aspect of personality. To
understand this we have to understand his background. He
was born in 1711 "of a good Family both by Father and
Mother. My Father's Family is a Branch of the Earl of
Home's or Hume's; and my Ancestors had been Proprietors
of the Estate, which my Brother possesses, for several Gener­
ations ... My Family, however, was not rich ... " His family
belonged to the small gentry of Scotland at a time when that
country both sufered from extremes of poverty and enjoyed
what was for the age an exceptionally high degree of general
culture. Scotland, in spite of its Calvinism, or perhaps rather
.
because of it, was in many ways closer to Europe than to
England; it was no exceptional thing for Hume to travel to
Paris in 1734, to stay in France for three years and to write
his fst book, the Treatise, at La Fleche on the Loire, where
he had the use of the library of the Jesuit college. It remains
tre that Hume had to pass from the narrow paths of a Pres­
byterian Calvinism, whose spirituality would often cast the
shadows of a narrow, legalistic, and frightening deity, into
the urbane, mannered rationalistic world of eighteenth­
century letters. And this marks Hume for life. The shadows
are never entirely removed. The sweetness of temper is inter­
rpted by fears of depression and of a disordered mind. Hue
is self-consciously aware of the infuence of temperament upon
outook. He writes with autobiographica warrant when he Intoducton I 11
says in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (which
were only published posthumously) that "when a man is in a
cheerfl disposition, he is ft for business or company or en­
tertainment of any kind; and he naturally applies himself to
these, and thinks not of religion. When melancholy, and de­
jected, he has nothing to do but brood upon the terrors of the
invisible world, and to plunge himself still deeper in afiction.
It may, indeed, happen, that after he has in his manner, en­
graved the religious opinions deep into his thought and imag­
nation, there may arrive a change of health or circumstances,
which may restore his good humou, and raising cheerful
prospect of futurity, make him run into the other extreme
of joy and triumph."
This psychological determinism is not restricted to religion.
We have, in Hume's view, no alternative in any realm but to
follow our natural propensities. This does not mean tha ra

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