Of Moralism In David Hume's A Treatise Of Human Nature?

1800 Words 8 Pages
In David Hume’s book A Treatise of Human Nature, Hume endeavors to investigate human nature through empirical means. By doing this, Hume is able to develop a moral theory that explores how we appraise and assign virtue, how we evaluate morals, and what is it is that drives actions. Ultimately, the empirical school of moral thought is promoted throughout A Treatise of Human Nature, while at the same time attacking rationalist moral theory. For the purpose of this paper, I will argue that Hume’s theory in incomplete because it overestimates the existence of a general and steady view. I will begin by offering a brief outline of Hume’s account of the appraisal of virtues, as well as an explanation of the role that sympathy plays in this account. Following this, I will introduce Hume’s idea that we must take a steady and general point of view to our appraisals of virtue, and discuss the plausibility of his view. From here, I will offer an objection to this view and provide a possible Humean response to my objection.
Throughout A Treatise, Hume is rejecting the rationalist view that we can exclusively use the faculty of reason to establish beliefs and that virtue and vice
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As a result of this, it is much more likely that an ambiguous act would be of a virtuous nature. This is because virtuous acts benefit society as it encourages cooperation. Additionally, it is incredibly difficult to fake being a virtuous person so they would be recognized as truly being a vicious person. It would also not matter how familiar a person is to us, as “The approbation of moral qualities most certainly is not derived from reason” (Bk, 1, part 3, sec. I). Hume believes that a person is only just if they are moved by its being just, and not for the appearance of being just nor through rationally

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