It is generally recognized that no higher praise can be bestowed on an individual than to point out the many ways in which his activities have been useful in promoting the welfare of his fellow humans. Likewise, it may be said that nothing will indicate the disapprobation of people any more than the assertion that the person in question has never done anything which has been of significant use to the society in which he has lived. This commendation of usefulness and disapproval of the lack of it suggests that there must be some reason why people are in favor of the one and critical of the other. Various attempts have been made by ethical philosophers to account for this fact, and it is Hume's purpose in this section of the book to set the matter straight.
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