According to moral sentiment theory, morals cannot be derived from reason. Therefore, if we accept moral sentiment theory, and yet still contend that moral judgments can be cognitive and rational, we have to carry out two tasks. In the first place, we should show that moral judgments based on passions, sentiments, or on something of that kind, can be, as a matter of fact, cognitive, and so have some kind of rationality. Secondly, as many contemporary philosophers still tend to think that emotive meaning is non-cognitive, and so non-rational, we should explain why and how this unfortunate situation has been brought about. In this essay, the author tries to answer the second problem, leaving the first for another occasion. The argument will proceed as follows. The author propounds (1) the process how in the 20th century, many moral philosophers have come to think that moral judgments have no descriptive meaning. And they think that judgments which lack descriptive meaning, cannot be cognitive. The author also attempts to explain (2) how ‘emotion’, during the course of history in the 19th century, has replaced ‘passion’, ‘affection’, ‘sentiment’, etc. These latter feelings, however, not only in moral sentiment theories in the 18th century but also in Aristotle's and Thomas Aquinas' theory, had been considered to be susceptive to reason, and therefore to have some rationality. As for (1), the author depicts the development of ethical theory since G.E. Moore's refutation of ethical naturalism to Stevenson's emotivism. And as for (2), the role William James had played will be emphasized.
Hobbes regarded the social order as artificial. Though most critics have argued his materialism excludes human productive capacities, this paper tries to show that his notion of nature encompasses metaphysical and epistemological preconditions that enable the mankind to be creative. In his mechanistic conception of philosophy can be found two types of nature: one as the physical world, which consists of matters in motion, and the other as the model science, which is most exemplified in geometry. The former influences our perception of the external world, whereas the latter makes the men capable of forming the civil order. Thus the act of making a commonwealth is made possible and conditioned by the two types of nature.
It is well known among Locke scholars that Locke owed much to Descartes for the development of his thought. However, the nature of the influence has not been specifically explored. This paper argues that though Locke inherited several philosophical terminologies and a sort of dualist thinking from Descartes, he altered them to serve for his philosophical project: the examination of our ideas and knowledge by means of his “historical, plain method.” A case study of our idea of substance and its essence shows that unlike Descartes Locke stayed agnostic about the very essence of body and mind. Thus it can be said that Locke held a property dualism in contrast to Descartes' substance dualism.
David Hume is renowned for his objection to the design argument. However, in his book Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Philo appears to believe in God although he is against the design argument. Why does Hume allow Philo to have faith? To answer this question, I think we should not resort to the concept of natural beliefs because in Hume's other writings he explains that people can believe in God by virtue of some principles of human nature. In this paper, I answer this question by elucidating that Hume considered that a belief in God can be explained by passion, imagination, customs and education.
In the Treatise 1.1.7, “On Abstract Ideas”, Hume develops a significant criticism of the Lockean concept of “abstract ideas”. This paper contains three claims. The first claim is that the argument is to be read as providing a definition of Hume’s concept of “custom”. The second claim is that “resemblances” among things are not detected on the basis of any particular feature that is discovered by reason. And the third claim is that the “general point of view” that Hume employs in his discussion of moral assessments should be understood as the principle of custom. This paper, thus, is an attempt to find in Hume’s concept of custom a significant relationship between his epistemology and his moral theory.
This essay discusses John Stuart Mill and John Austin on the utilitarian doctrine in the 1830s. In spite of his disenchantment with Jeremy Bentham, Mill remained to be a utilitarian after the so-called Mental Crisis (1826-7). I first explain why and how Mill advocated the utilitarian doctrine, rejecting the alternatives. Second, the presumable source of his ‘new’ utilitarian theory, i.e. the argument of Austin, is examined, pointing out in what ways Mill's argument had similarities to that of Austin. It is from Austin that Mill learnt a mode in which the utilitarian principle could be coupled with reliance on moral rules.