1 Adam Smith, British Moralists Volume 1 p. 334.
2 Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition.
3 Adam Smith, op. cit. p. 334.
4 The moral sense includes the capacity to appreciate the beauty of noble, proper, fit, considerate, benevolent, and righteous actions. It includes the sense of justice and the sense of fairness. It includes the human emotions associated with justice, fairness, and benevolence. And it include our conscience.
5 Referring to Richard Price and his theory of intuitionism, W. D. Hudson wrote in Reason and Right p. 91:
He appears to start from the fact that we have a strong and persistent feeling of approval when virtue is rewarded or vice punished, and a strong and persistent feeling of disapproval when the reverse happens; and then to say, in effect, that, because these feelings are so strong and persistent, they cannot possibly be feelings, but must be intuitions of mysterious, metaphysical attributes, namely the essential merit of virtue and essential demerit of vice.
6 William F. Allman, in The Stone Age Present p. 216, notes:
Further evidence that the brain is specially wired to enjoy music comes from people who suffer brain damage from a stroke and are afflicted with "amusia" — an inability to recognize familiar melodies and loss of musical ability— even though other mental abilities are left unimpaired. The wiring up of the brain's musical knowledge begins very early in life and, like language, is "tuned" to a particular culture. Six-month-old infants possess a rudimentary ability to perceive that a musical chord contains a "sour" note that is atonal. By age one, North American children are better at remembering a melody when the tune is created from notes in a scale found in conventional Western music, as opposed to melodies written from a more exotic scale used in Indonesia.
7 Leo Strauss, op. cit. p. 98:
As little as man's varying notions of the universe prove that there is no universe or that there cannot be the true account of the universe or that man can never arrive at true and final knowledge of the universe, so little seems man's varying notions of justice to prove that there is no natural right or that natural right is unknowable. The variety of notions of justice can be understood as the variety of errors, which variety does not contradict, but presupposes, the existence of the one truth regarding justice.
8 Frances Hutcheson, British Moralists Volume 1 p. 123:
...the absurd Practices which prevail in the World, are much better Arguments that Men have no Reason, than they have no moral Sense of Beauty in Actions.
9 Ibid. p. 122.
And it is strange, that Reason is universally allow'd to Men, notwithstanding all the stupid, ridiculous, Opinions receiv'd in many Places, and yet absurd practices, founded upon those very Opinions, shall seem an Argument against any moral Sense; altho the bad Conduct is not owing to any Irregularity in the moral Sense, but in a wrong Judgment or Opinion.
10 Joseph Butler, British Moralists Volume 1 p. 217:
...you cannot form a notion of this faculty, conscience, without taking in judgment, direction, superintendency. This is a constituent part of the idea, that is, of the faculty itself: and to preside and govern from the very economy and constitution of man, belongs to it. Had it strength, as it had right; had it power, as it had manifest authority, it would absolutely govern the world.
11 Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History p. 130:
As long as man has not cultivated his reason properly, he will have all sorts of fantastic notions as to the limits set to his freedom; he will elaborate absurd taboos. But what prompts the savages in their savage doings is not savagery but the divination of right.
12 Frances Hutcheson, op cit. pp. 124-125:
Were we freely conversant with Robbers, who shew a moral Sense, in the equal proportionable Division of their Prey, and in Faith in each other, we should find they have their own sublime moral Ideas of their Party, as Generous, Courageous, Trusty, nay Honest too; and that those we call Honest and Industrious, are imagin'd by them to be Mean-spirited, Selfish, Churlish, or Luxurious; on whom that Wealth is ill bestow'd which therefore they would apply to better Uses, to maintain gallanter Men, who have a Right to a Living as well as their Neighbors, who are their profess'd Enemies. Nay, if we observe the Discourse of our profess'd Debauchees, our most dissolute Rakes, we shall find their Vices cloth'd, in their Imaginations, with some amiable Dress of Liberty, Generosity, just Resentment against the Contrivers of artful Rules to enslave Men, and rob them of their Pleasures.
Perhaps never any Men pursu'd Vice long with Peace of Mind, without some such deluding Imagination of moral Good, while they may be still inadvertent to the barbarous and inhuman Consequences of their Actions. The Idea of an ill-natur'd Villain, is too frightful ever to become familiar to any Mortal. Here we shall find, that the basest Actions are dress'd in some tolerable Mask. What others call Avarice, appears to the Agent a prudent Care of a Family, or Friends; Fraud, artful Conduct; Malice and Revenge, a just Sense of Honor and a Vindication of our Right in Possessions, of Fame; Fire and Sword, and Desolation among Enemys, a just thorow Defense of our Country; Persecution, a Zeal for the Truth, and for the eternal Happiness of Men, which Heretics oppose. In all these Instances, Men generally act from a Sense of Virtue upon false Opinions, and mistaken Benevolence; upon wrong or partial Views of publick Good, and the means to promote it; or upon very narrow Systems form'd by like foolish Opinions. It is not a Delight in the Misery of others, or Malice, which occasions the horrid Crimes which fill our Historys; but generally an injudicious unreasonable Enthusiasm for some kind of limited Virtue.
13 Joseph Butler, op cit. p. 219:
Every bias, instinct, propension within, is a natural part of our nature, but not the whole: add to those the superior faculty, whose office it is to adjust, manage, and preside over them, and take in this its natural superiority, and you complete the idea of human nature.
14 Ibid. p. 211:
If by following nature were meant only acting as we please, it would indeed be ridiculous to speak of nature as any guide in morals: nay the very mention of deviating from nature would be absurd; and the mention of following it, when spoken by way of distinction, would absolutely have no meaning. For did ever any one act otherwise than as he pleased?
15 Frances Hutcheson, op cit. p. 119:
And this Sense, like our other Senses, tho counter-acted from Motives of external Advantage, which are stronger than it, ceases not to operate, but has Strength enough to make us uneasy and dissatisfied with our selves,...
16 John Balguy, British Moralists Volume 2 p. 61:
...It seems an insuperable Difficulty in our Author's Scheme, that Virtue appears in it to be of an arbitrary and positive Nature, as entirely depending upon Instincts, that might originally have been otherwise, or even contrary to what they now are, and may at any time be altered or inverted, if the Creator pleases.
17 In Reason and Right p. 3, W. D. Hudson presented Richard Price's criticism of Frances Hutcheson's moral sense philosophy this way:
Just as God might have made us other than we are so that what tastes sweet to us now would have tasted bitter and what looks beautiful would have looked ugly; so, if the moral faculty is a sense, God might conceivably have made us such that what we now judge to be right we should have judged to be wrong or vice versa. Our moral judgments, on this view, are determined by a contingent fact about the constitution of our minds and, therefore, can have no necessity. Nor can they have any objectivity.
18 Does the following quotation support free will or determinism?
We have preferences; we make choices; we perform actions. Our preferences are determined by being ours, not someone else's. Our choices are determined by following upon our preferences. Our actions are determined by following on our choices. This is determinism, but it is also freedom: my freedom to do what I prefer, what I choose, what I will, which is surely the only kind of freedom that is intelligible.Some thinkers would classify this statement (W. D. Hudson, Reason and Right p. 149) as a description of what is meant by free will. Others would classify it as a description of determinism in human actions. It is more important to recognize the truth of his statement than to agree on a name for the idea it describes.
19 Michael Levin, Why Race Matters p. 211.
20 Michael Levin, Why Race Matters p. 172.
21 Richard Price's position (in W. D. Hudson's Reason and Right p. 175) makes more sense than Kant's position on this question:
Like Aristotle, Price believes that happiness goes with virtue; indeed, that a man is not really good unless he is happy, i.e. unless he takes pleasure in virtuous activity. He dismisses the view that if we delight in virtue, our virtue is less disinterested and therefore less virtuous. This delight arises from acting from the motive of regard for rectitude. It is "scarcely in our power," says Price, to act from one motive (desire for this delight) in order to have the pleasure of reflecting that we acted from another (regard for rectitude).
22 James Rachels, Created from Animals, p.s. 78-79.
23 Ibid. p. 79.
24 Richard Price attacked a belief held by no one when he wrote the following lines:
If a person can justly be styled virtuous and praise worthy, when he never reflects upon virtue, and the reason of his acting is not from any consideration of it, intelligence certainly is not necessary to moral agency, and brutes are full as capable of virtue and moral merit as we are. (British Moralists Volume 2 p. 182.)
But instinctive benevolence is no principle of virtue, nor any actions flowing from it virtuous. (British Moralists Volume 2 p. 183.)
25 Francis Hutcheson was a leading sentimentalist philosopher who based his moral philosophy on the sentiment of benevolence. He recognized the role of reason in choosing the means for achieving our instinctive ends:
If it be said, "that Actions from Instinct, are not the Effect of Prudence and Choice;" this Objection holds full as strongly against Actions which flow from Self-Love; since the use of our Reason is a requisite to find the proper means of promoting public Good, as private Good. As it must be an Instinct, or a Determination previous to Reason, which makes us pursue private Good, as well as public Good, as our End; there is the same occasion for Prudence and Choice, in the Election of proper Means for promoting either. (British Moralists Volume 1 p. 116.)
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