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Cohon, Rachel, , . Hume’s Moral Philosophy
2010, E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy [electronic resource]
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Introduction: Hume’s position in ethics, which is based on his empiricist theory of the mind, is best known for asserting four theses: (1) Reason alone cannot be a motive to the will, but rather is the “slave of the passions” (see Section 3) (2) Moral distinctions are not derived from reason (see Section 4). (3) Moral distinctions are derived from the moral sentiments: feelings of approval (esteem, praise) and disapproval (blame) felt by spectators who contemplate a character trait or action (see Section 7). (4) While some virtues and vices are natural (see Section 13), others, including justice, are artificial (see Section 9). There is heated debate about what Hume intends by each of these theses and how he argues for them. He articulates and defends them within the broader context of his metaethics and his ethic of virtue and vice.

Hume’s main ethical writings are Book 3 of his Treatise of Human Nature, “Of Morals” (which builds on Book 2, “Of the Passions”), his Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, and some of his Essays. In part the moral Enquiry simply recasts central ideas from the moral part of the Treatise in a more accessible style; but there are important differences. The ethical positions and arguments of the Treatise are set out below, noting where the moral Enquiry agrees; differences between the Enquiry and the Treatise are discussed afterwards.

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Deligiorgi, Katerina, , . Hegel’s Moral Philosophy
2017, In Dean Moyar (ed.), Oxford Handbook to Hegel's Philosophy. Oxford University Press
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Added by: Alison Stone, Contributed by:

Abstract: Hegel’s criticism of morality, or Moralität, has had a decisive influence in the reception of his thought. By general acknowledgment, while his writings support a broadly neo-Aristotelian ethics of self-actualization, his views on moral philosophy are exhausted by his criticisms of Kant, whom he treats as paradigmatic exponent of the standpoint of morality. The aim of this chapter is to correct this received view and show that Hegel offers a positive conception of moral willing. The main argument is presented in two parts: (a) an interpretation of the ‘Morality’ section of the Philosophy of Right that shows Hegel defending a guise of the good version of willing; and (b) an examination of problems raised by this view of willing, some of which are anticipated by Hegel in in his treatment of the ‘Idea of the Good’ in the Logic, and of the interpretative options available to deal with these problems.

Comment: A useful account of Hegel's position in moral philosophy focusing on his relation to Kant. Could be used on an ethics course when covering Hegel, either as supplementary to a reading from Hegel or as primary reading introducing a further reading by Hegel the following week.

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