Article

Hume's Place in the History of Ethics

Annette Baier

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199545971
Published online April 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199545971.013.0019

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Hume's Place in the History of Ethics

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This chapter begins with a description of the general character of Hume's ethics, which are Epicurean in that he assumes that pleasure is good, and every good thing is pleasing. All virtues, for him, are ‘agreeable or useful’ to their possessor or to others, and the useful is defined as what can be expected to yield future pleasure. The discussion then covers Hume's views on sympathy and the principles governing our approbations; trust and its enlargement by social ‘artifices’; natural virtues, natural duties, and what they include and exclude; responsibility; the role of reason; rights; and his influence on subsequent moral philosophers.

Keywords: ethical theory; Epicurean; pleasure; good; virtues; sympathy; trust; responsibility; rights; reason

Article.  12331 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy

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