Ethics, Hume

Topics: Morality, Philosophy, Ethics Pages: 2 (783 words) Published: December 10, 2013
Yes, empathy with other human beings can provide a basis for morality because empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share feelings with another and morality is defined as the a particular system of values and principles of conduct. Therefore, empathy is the motivation for morality. David Hume, the author of “A Treatise of Human Nature”, was a Scottish philosopher that believed the “good of man kind is the only object of laws and regulations”. Hume is considered one of the greatest philosophers of all time based off his arguments; everything is natural, morality is based on natural feelings and only desires can motivate human beings. The objective of this paper is to introduce Hume’s philosophy, interpret “A Treatise of Human Nature” and follow up with support that empathy does in fact motivate morality. David Hume’s book “A Treatise of Human Nature” strives to introduce an innovative method of reasoning for anything that can be harmed. Hume does not believe there is any exact order of natural law and a natural/ unnatural theory cannot distinguish whether an action is moral or immoral. Hume’s theory is the opposite of some of Hobbe’s theories. Hume believes that psychological egoism is false while Hobbe’s believes it is true. Hume also argues that social contact is pointless while Hobbes believes it is a key aspect of morality. Hume also argues in “A Treatise of Human Nature” that reason can not be a basis for morality, rather feelings are the motivation for morality and reason only identifies facts. Another key argument of Hume’s is one cannot argue ‘is’ to ‘ought’, the denotation of ‘is’ today means ‘fact’ while ‘ought’ is a view of how something should be. Hume’s philosophy is that only natural desire can motivate, this includes: self-interest, benevolence, and usefulness. . Justice in our world is tied into the desire of usefulness or a utility to human beings, however justice in Hume’s eyes is considered an artificial virtue or unnatural...
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