Humean Sympathy - overcoming self interest

  • Created by: Sarah
  • Created on: 13-05-12 15:07

Humean Sympathy

NB/ Can be used to argue that self interest must be overcome when deciding which actions are morally right.

Hume claims that "morality comes from our natural disposition to feel sympathy towards others" e.g. this is why we choose to step on the pavement rather than another man's toes because we recognise the pain that this may cause him. As an empiricist account of morality, morality comes from the inner sensations of sympathy we feel when regarding acts.

1. Hume argues that morality comes from the traits or acts which we universally approve of or see as useful/agreeable. These make our moral decisions sensitive an d human unlike Kant's insensitive and rigid account of morality. 

-But, it can be argued that these traits that Hume outlines as useful or agreeable are just a reflection of his subjective opinions e.g. secrecy isn't universally considered as a moral trait.

-This can be a strength of the argument because it shows that Hume's theory is adaptable; useful and agreeable…


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