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More_Hume_notes - More Hume notes Natural and Artificial...

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More Hume notes. Natural and Artificial Virtues – a Puzzle Virtuous actions derive their merit from virtuous motives. (203) An action is just a set of events. Our moral approval of it is directed at its cause, the agent’s motive or reasons for acting. The action is a sign or evidence of its cause (as a smile is a sign or evidence of happiness). The first morally good motive cannot be the desire to do what’s right, but must be some natural motive that we approve of. (Hume’s circle.) (204) Since actions are good as their motives are good, how could the first good motive be concern for the goodness of the action it led to? [Natural virtue is virtue that requires no society.] Justice is a social system of rules for such matters as property (who can own what) and promises. Where there are rules about property, ownership and theft are possible; if there are no rules, there is no ownership and no theft. There is no original natural motive to act justly (e.g. honestly). All the candidate motives can be rejected. 205-209 Benevolence won’t work since not every just act is beneficial.
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