David Hume: The Importance Of Sentiment In Morality

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The Importance of Sentiment in Morality In this paper, I will argue that David Hume’s argument on morality is more persuasive than Thomas Hobbes’ argument due to the nature of sentiment that everyone carries. One of the key problems of Hobbes’ argument is that it assumes that everyone is unitary. Hobbes explained the State of Nature and the way people would react to it in a way where all the actors involved would make the obvious--rational--choice, however, this is not the case. Not all individuals will react the same way and it would be naive to assume so. An example of this is in his prisoner’s dilemma. In the Leviathan, Hobbes explains the State of Nature like the prisoner’s dilemma (Hobbes, Ch. 13, 618). In this dilemma, two criminals …show more content…
The problem of this dilemma is that it suggests that everyone will pick the choice of not confessing because it is the best choice to choose from. But there are other factors that can skew decision. Factors such as emotion. Emotion can result in people to act out of reason, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does count as an aspect doing certain actions. In relation to the prisoner 's dilemma, Convict A, as I will call him, may have hated the other convict, Convict B. It is this hatred that has resulted in Convict A to confessing on the misdeeds that both criminals have done, resulting in the lighter sentence to Convict A for confessing and a harsher sentence on Convict B for staying quiet. Therefore proving that emotions can play a role in deciding another course of action. It may not be the best course of action--Convict B may attack Convict A later as punishment for selling out information--but it was something Convict A felt the need to act on. The idea of emotions being an importance within morality is one of Hume’s argument and proves to be important when applied to decision making ( Hume, Book II, Part III pg …show more content…
An example of this is people’s shared view on murder . When a person is murdered in front of a group of people, it is obvious that the group of individuals who witnessed the murder feels negatively towards the action. You do not even have to witness the murder to know that there is something in the action that feels wrong. We may have these shared common preferences--these passions and desires--but it does not actually represent anything in the world. It is merely just our own internal states--neither representing truth or false about reality (Hume, Book III part I, 806-807). But it is in these desires that serve as motivations to act on something. Whatever the action that is made, nothing really determines for it to be moral when we use emotion to decide what is moral. An example can be the following thought experiment. Person A wants to further himself in his careers and goals, thus, joins a company who he feels will accomplish his ambitions. It is in being a part of this company that Person A realises that there is a lot of benefits that will help him with getting the means to his ends. There are a lot of benefits, connections, and plenty of opportunities to get him to where he wants in life. He is also helping the company by being a part of the team to help with their ambitions. Therefore, there is a mutuals gain seen with Person A and the company. However, it was only after staying in the company for a

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