Affection Conduct Essay Illustration Moral Nature Passions Sense

Francis Hutcheson, a moral-sense theorist, was born at Drumalig in County Down, Ulster.His father and grandfather were Presbyterian ministers.Its deliverances are ideas of reflection that arise from our original perceptions of human actions.

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David Hume sent a draft of Part III of The Treatise of Human Nature, "Of Morals," to Hutcheson for his comments prior to publication.

Some indication of the spirit in which Hutcheson wrote his own work can be gathered from his rebuking Hume for a lack of warmth in the cause of virtue, which "all good men would relish, and could not displease among abstract enquiries." Hutcheson's contributions to philosophy lie in aesthetics and moral philosophy.

Not long after, he was invited by the Presbyterians of Dublin to found a dissenting academy for their youth, and he remained in Dublin for the next ten years as head of the academy.

His stay there was a turning point in the development of his thought, for he came under the influence of admirers of the Earl of Shaftesbury's philosophy.

But this does not take us very far, for we may still ask why benevolence is a criterion of virtue.

Hutcheson knew the answer that some moral writers had given to this question: Helpfulness or benevolence is a possible relation between two human beings, and it is a fitting one. But how do you tell what is fitting and what is not? At this point, however, Hutcheson asked whether fittingness could be discovered by reason.

Hutcheson's task was to offer an account of how the moral sense works.

He located the moral sense on the map of Lockean psychology.

In the one he offers a theory of an internal sense by which we perceive beauty, and in the other he offers a theory of a moral sense by which we perceive and approve virtue and perceive and condemn vice.

Hutcheson meant his theory of the moral sense to be a contribution to the contemporary discussion of how to analyze man's moral knowledge. Samuel Clarke and his followers held that moral distinctions are made by reason on the basis of our knowledge of the unchanging and unchangeable fitness of things.


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