See, for example, Essential Works of David Hume, ed. Ralph Cohen (New York: Bantam Books, 1965); Of the Standard of Taste, And Other Essays, ed. John W. Lenz (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965); Writings on Economics, ed. Eugene Rotwein (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1955); Political Essays, ed. Charles W. Hendel (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1953); Theory of Politics, ed. Frederick M. Watkins (Edinburgh: Nelson, 1951); and Hume’s Moral and Political Philosophy, ed. Henry D. Aiken (New York: Hafner, 1948).
THIS NEW EDITION of Hume's Essays, Moral, Political, andLiterary is based on the edition of 1777 . The 1777 edition isthe copy-text of choice, for, while it appeared posthumously,it contains Hume's latest corrections. It was the text used by...
As part of the tried and true model of informal essay writing, Hume began publishing his Essays: Moral, Political and Literary in 1741. The majority of these finely honed treatises fall into three distinct areas: political theory, economic theory and aesthetic theory. Interestingly, Hume's was motivated to produce a collection of informal essays given the poor public reception of his more formally written Treatise of Human Nature in 1739. He hoped that his work would be interesting not only to the educated man, but to the common man as well. He passionately argues that essays provide a forum for discussing his philosophy of "common life."
Hume's explanation of morality is an important part of his efforts toreform philosophy. He takes his primary task to be an investigationinto the origin of the basic moral ideas, which he assumes are theideas of moral goodness and badness. As with the idea of cause andnecessary connection, he wants to explain moral ideas as economicallyas possible in terms of their “simplest and fewestcauses”. Determining their causes will determine what theircontent is—what we mean by them. His secondary concern is toestablish what character traits and motives are morally good andbad.
HET: David Hume (1741-1777) Essays Moral, Political …
In the moral Enquiry Hume is more explicit about what hetakes to be the errors of Christian (or, more cautiously, RomanCatholic) moralists. Not only have they elevated craven humility tothe status of a virtue, which he hints in the Treatise is amistake, but they also favor penance, fasting, and other“monkish virtues” that are in fact disapproved by allreasonable folk for their uselessness and disagreeableness, and so arein fact vices.
Philosophy Essays: Hume Vs. Kant: The Nature of Morality
Why did Hume omit the more fundamental arguments for themotivational inertia of reason? He may have reconsidered and rejectedthem. For example, he may have given up his undefended claim thatpassions have no representative character, a premise of theRepresentation Argument on which, as we saw, some of his fundamentalanti-rationalist arguments depend. Or he may have retained these viewsbut opted not to appeal to anything so arcane in a work aimed at abroader audience and intended to be as accessible as possible. Themoral Enquiry makes no use of ideas and impressions, and so noarguments that depend on that distinction can be offered there,including the Representation Argument. Apparently Hume thought he couldshow that reason and sentiment rule different domains without usingthose arguments.
Essays Moral and Political by Hume David - AbeBooks
For Hume, all actions of a moral agent are motivated by character traits, specifically either virtuous or vicious character traits. For example, if you donate money to a charity, then your action is motivated by a virtuous character trait. Hume argues that some virtuous character traits are instinctive or natural, such as benevolence, and others are acquired or artificial, such as justice. As an agent, your action will have an effect on a receiver. For example, if you as the agent give food to a starving person, then the receiver will experience an immediately agreeable feeling from your act. Also, the receiver may see the usefulness of your food donation, insofar as eating food will improve his health. When considering the usefulness of your food donation, then, the receiver will receive another agreeable feeling from your act. Finally, I, as a spectator, observe these agreeable feelings that the receiver experiences. I, then, will sympathetically experience agreeable feelings along with the receiver. These sympathetic feelings of pleasure constitute my moral approval of the original act of charity that you, the agent, perform. By sympathetically experiencing this pleasure, I thereby pronounce your motivating character trait to be a virtue, as opposed to a vice. Suppose, on the other hand, that you as an agent did something to hurt the receiver, such as steal his car. I as the spectator would then sympathetically experience the receiver’s pain and thereby pronounce your motivating character trait to be a vice, as opposed to a virtue.