An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals by David Hume, Eric Steinberg, J. B. Schneewind

By David Hume, Eric Steinberg, J. B. Schneewind

A most excellent variation. Schneewind's illuminating advent succinctly situates the Enquiry in its ancient context, clarifying its dating to Calvinism, to Newtonian technological know-how, and to past ethical philosophers, and supplying a persuasive account of Hume's moral naturalism. --Martha C. Nussbaum, Brown University

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Reath, ‘Hedonism’, denies that Kant holds the hedonist views that I have attributed to him. See also Allison, KTF 103. ⁴² He mentions Poseidonius suffering from the gout, who said that however annoying (molestum) the pain might be, he would never agree that it was bad (malum). As Kant understands this, Poseidonius says that pain is an ill (¨ubel) but not strictly bad (b¨ose) (KpV 60). Kant explains: ‘for the pain did not in the least diminish the worth of his person, but 14 §906 The Status of Hypothetical Imperatives The strictly good is the good recognized by reason, in contrast to the pleasant.

In doing this, we mistakenly suppose that we need no further reason apart from inclination in order to have a good reason to act on our inclinations. This mistake underlies the attitude of ‘self-love’, which treats ‘the subjective determining grounds of one’s choice’ as ‘objective determining grounds of the will’. Self-love exaggerates its importance even more when it ‘makes itself legislative and makes itself into the unconditioned practical principle’; this exaggerated attitude is ‘self-conceit’.

Does he intend to confine our knowledge to what consists in or is constructed from our appearances (understood as states of consciousness) and to deny us any knowledge of things or properties that exist independently of our experiencing them? If he intends this further limit, his answer to scepticism may well appear to concede a crucial part of the sceptic’s position. Kant’s moral theory raises a similar question. Clarke and Price affirm the objectivity of moral properties, whereas Hutcheson and Hume deny it.

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