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Unformatted text preview: The issue is a crucial one so far as the status of moral principles is concerned. Arguments have been stated in abundance in support of each of these opposing positions. Hume's own position is very definitely on the side of those who place the greater emphasis on feelings rather than reason as the basis for moral beliefs. Several of Hume's contemporaries, as well as his predecessors, had given support to the rationalistic conception of ethics, and he was anxious to correct the errors which he saw in the views they had presented. His method for doing this was quite in harmony with the spirit of empiricism, which was being emphasized in the scientific inquiries of his day. In contrast with the rationalists, who had derived their principles of morality by making deductions from metaphysical assumptions, Hume believed it was necessary to study the facts of human...
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- Fall '11