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Hutcheson’s Moral Philosophy

Source: Francis Hutcheson, Philosophiae moralis institutio compendiaria with a Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy, edited and with an Introduction by Luigi Turco (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007). Chapter: INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

Francis Hutcheson is considered by many scholars to be the father of the Scottish Enlightenment. His thought variously influenced leading figures in eighteenth-century Scotland, such as David Hume, Adam Smith, and Thomas Reid, in the rest of Europe, and in America. Hutcheson, like Shaftesbury and other neo-Stoic philosophers, viewed philosophy, not as a mere theoretical exercise, but as having a practical function. His argument for a virtuous life and for an active involvement in public life was based on his belief in the benevolence of God, the harmony of the universe, and men’s sociable dispositions. Hutcheson had the great merit of turning Shaftesbury’s aristocratic language into clear and concrete prose that well matched the empirical turn of mind in eighteenth-century Britain and could be understood by a wide readership. Hutcheson criticized the pessimistic account of human nature inherent in the legalistic conception of morality and justice in seventeenth-century Protestant theology and jurisprudence.

Philosophiae Moralis Institutio Compendiaria was aimed at university students and had a large circulation within Scottish universities, Irish and English dissenting academies, and American colleges. The aim of the text was twofold: on one hand, to put forward an optimistic view of God, human nature, and the harmony of the universe; on the other hand, to provide students with the knowledge of natural and civil law required by the university curriculum.

This work was preceded by An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725), a work largely influenced by the thought of Lord Shaftesbury and Richard Cumberland and reacting to the skeptical moral teaching of Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees; and by An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections. With Illustrations on the MoralSense (1728), an answer to his critics. Hutcheson considered the two Inquiries on beauty and virtue, the Essay on passions, and the Illustrations to be complementary and referred to them as “the four treatises” which constituted his moral teaching. From 1725 to 1742 he carefully made additions and corrections to these works, a sign that he never judged them to be surpassed. However, Hutcheson’s moral thought is also presented in his Philosophiae Moralis Institutio Compendiaria, published in 1742 with a revised second edition in 1745—and translated into English with the title A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy in 1747—as well as in A System of Moral Philosophy, published posthumously in 1755 by his son Francis, but already circulating among his friends in 1737.

Therefore, we have three different versions of Hutcheson’s moral thought, and scholars have always found some difficulties in explaining their different aims and in finding consistency among them. In a celebrated monograph of 1900, William Robert Scott argued that there was a development in Hutcheson’s moral thought and identified four phases, from the Shaftesburian Inquiries, through the influence of Bishop Butler in the Essay and Illustrations, to the Aristotelian Institutio, and finally to the Stoic System. However, given Hutcheson’s remarks in the preface to the Philosophiae Moralis Institutio Compendiaria, it is more reasonable to consider this work to be an elementary book addressed to the young who study at universities, and not to a learned, adult public audience. Hutcheson was aware that “many such compends have been published by very learned men,” but added that “every teacher must use his own judgment on these subjects.” He thought that the “method and order which pleased” him “most” was “pretty different from what has of late prevailed,” and that it would “be of use to the students to have in their hands an abridgement, containing the method and the principal heads of argument, to recall to their memories the points more largely insisted upon in their lectures.” Combined with comments we have from William Leechman, James Wodrow, and William Thom on Hutcheson’s teaching, these remarks clearly suggest that the Institutio mostly reflects Hutcheson’s “private” (that is, advanced) afternoon lectures in Latin and were designed to help his students to elaborate their theses, according to the custom of the time. Also, the evidence suggests that his System of Moral Philosophy reflects his early morning public (that is, more basic) lectures in English.1 As will be evident to the modern reader, this does not mean that the Institutio and the System were not elaborate works.

Hutcheson’s remarks may also help us solve some problems about the order of composition of the two works. In 1737 he stated that the System “has employed my leisure hours for several summers past,” and it is possible that the composition of the Institutio dated to the same early years of his teaching in Glasgow as the System since the second and third books seem to be an enlargement of the Institutio. Some scholars have conjectured that the Institutio, as well as Hutcheson’s Logic and Metaphysics, could even have been composed during the twenties when he was teaching in the Dublin Academy that he then ran. This could explain why he wrote Latin compends in subjects he never taught in Glasgow.2

While it is possible that an early manuscript version of the Institutio existed in the early thirties or even in the twenties, the first edition published in 1742 might differ at least as much from it as the two published editions differ from each other. In any case, a careful reading of the parallel chapters in the Institutio and the System does not allow us to establish a definite order of composition. In many cases the System seems to enlarge on subjects already treated in the Latin work, but there are chapters of the Institutio that present a more ordered and concise exposition than the corresponding chapters of the System.

The Institutio

Hutcheson found himself in the difficult position of having to instruct his students in the principles and subtleties of natural and civil law even though he was a keen critic and severe judge of one of the most important systems of such law, that of Pufendorf. In a letter to the London Journal of 1724, he had criticized Pufendorf for his “grand argument” that “the belief of a deity” “is true” “because it is necessary to support society.”3 In his inaugural lecture at Glasgow in November 1730, he castigated Pufendorf for his pessimistic account of the state of nature and for assuming that “men were driven in society only for the sake of external advantage, and for fear of external evils, but in opposition to their natural turn of mind and to all natural affections and appetites.”4

Pufendorf’s De officio hominis et civis (an abridgement of his De jure naturae et gentium) was a standard text in the teaching of natural law in Protestant universities, and Hutcheson keeps close to the order of Pufendorf’s exposition while modifying its moral foundations. In Book III of the Institutio Hutcheson accurately summarizes Pufendorf’s discussion in Book II of De officio (the duties of the citizen). The contents of Book I of Pufendorf’s De officio, on the duties of mankind or the law of nature, are dealt with in two different books of Hutcheson’s work: In Book II of the Institutio (Elements of the law of nature) Hutcheson refers to juridical notions he derives directly from Pufendorf (law of nature, classification of rights, acquisition and transferring of property, contracts, oaths, obligations, etc). In Book I he replaces Pufendorf’s legalistic ethics with the ethics of his own Inquiry. The two first chapters are devoted respectively to the description of human nature and its basic sociability, and to the summum bonum or happiness and virtue, according to the Stoic perspective, especially as set out in Cicero’s De finibus and Tusculanae Disputationes, Books 4 and 5.

The first chapter of Book I, the longest of the Institutio, is a careful description of the several powers of human nature. Hutcheson begins from the peculiarities of the human body as compared with the bodies of animals, and passes to the external senses and to the faculties of understanding and will, to concentrate his account on his preferred theme, the reflex or internal senses. Different sections are dedicated to the sense of beauty, sympathy, the moral sense, the sense of honor, and the sense of ridicule, as well as to the affections and the passions of the soul. It is by the sense of beauty that we receive pleasant perceptions in observing proportion, harmony or grandeur, and novelty in the objects of nature or the fine arts. Sympathy or sensus communis, as Hutcheson calls it following Shaftesbury, is the reflex sense by which we rejoice in the prosperity of others, or sorrow with them in their distress.

However, the most important sense is the moral sense or the “sensus decori or honesti,” as Hutcheson calls it following Cicero,5 by which we approve every action springing from benevolent affections or passions and disapprove any contrary disposition. To the moral sense is connected the sense of honor and shame which gives us pleasure or pain when others approve or condemn our conduct. Hutcheson stresses not only the innateness but also the supremacy of the moral sense over every other sense and its authority in regulating our conduct. With this thesis, absent in the first editions of the Inquiry, Hutcheson approaches the ethics of Butler, where conscience has a hegemonic role. However, he explicitly opposes Butler’s ethics when he considers benevolence to be as ultimate and basic a principle of human conduct as self-love. Hutcheson carefully distinguishes, in accordance with Stoic and Ciceronian doctrine, between the calm and rational desires and aversions inspired by these senses, and the turbulent motions of the passions. The multitude of these instinctive senses and desires is a proof “that man was destined by nature for action.” Further, the stress on human industry, another Ciceronian feature, is a novelty in the Institutio.6

In Book V of De finibus and in Tusculan Disputations Cicero discusses whether virtue is the only good (the Stoic thesis) or we need also some natural good, such as health or riches (the Aristotelian thesis). So the argument is about the relationship between virtue and happiness, and Cicero says that we need some external prosperity. In the second chapter of the first book of the Institutio, Hutcheson considers the relationship between virtue and happiness, or, more generally, between our senses and happiness. Happiness and misery are the sum of pleasures and pains that differ according to their dignity or quality and according to their duration. Considering in turn the external and internal senses and the pleasures we get from them, he reaches the conclusion that “happiness consists in the virtues of the soul, and in the continued exercise of them in good offices” together with “a moderate degree of external prosperity,”7 again a conclusion close to the Stoicism of Cicero, mitigated by the teaching of the Peripatetic school.

Three chapters are devoted to the duties of man toward God, other men, and himself. In this way Hutcheson follows a common division, present also in Pufendorf’s De officio but quite different in content from Pufendorf. For example, Pufendorf’s chapter on the duty to oneself focuses on the right to self-defense, but Hutcheson’s chapter is a warm invitation to the practice of virtues and to the control of the passions, a duty we owe to ourselves, if we want to be happy (cf. Chapter 2). The three chapters on duties are preceded by a chapter dedicated to the classification of virtues, according to the Platonic, Aristotelian, and Ciceronian division, into the four cardinal virtues.

How is the ethics of moral sense of the first book connected with the doctrine of rights in the second book? From the beginning, Hutcheson’s ethics has an antilegalistic feature that renders problematic its connection with the natural law legacy. The conception that moral behavior depends on the law of a superior who threatens sanctions debases morality, in Hutcheson’s eye. Moreover, the moral sense discovers moral excellence in those actions or characters that are inspired by benevolent intentions. Actions which spring from self-love or personal interest, as legal actions do, are indifferent from a moral point of view. In each of his three works—the “four treatises,” the Institutio, and the System—Hutcheson finds different ways to escape from his impasse.

In the Institutio, Hutcheson attaches a moral value to the common good of the system of human creatures. The moral sense makes us approve benevolent affections; in combination with natural religion it lets us discover a God provided with the same kind affections toward his creatures and, possibly, an analogous moral sense. In this way the common good of the system, as well as every action which contributes to it, acquires a moral value. Every action that is morally innocent, even if inspired by interest or self-love, and that contributes to the common good of the whole has the status of a right guaranteed by the law.8 So Hutcheson is able to arrive, independently, at the notion of a “divine law of nature” that commands us to worship God and promote “the common good of all and of particular men and societies,”9 as well as at the notion of right “as a faculty or claim” guaranteed by a law “to act, or possess, or obtain something from others.”10 An alternative way to arrive at the same conclusion is provided by Hutcheson’s moral calculus. This computation was first proposed in the Inquiry in order to ascertain the degree of benevolence or virtue implied in any action, moving from the idea that, ceteris paribus, there is a relation between the degree of benevolence and the amount of good produced. Since the aim of morally good affections is to maximize the common good, every action that contributes to this goal has a moral value and therefore has to be guaranteed by natural and civil laws.11 In this light, it makes sense that Hutcheson puts forward the discussion of the state of nature in the second book while Pufendorf treats it only in his book on government.

The natural condition of man is a state of innocence and sociability. Hutcheson does not use the traditional term “state of nature,” but prefers to call it a state of freedom, reacting, as Titius and Barbeyrac before him, to the pessimism of Hobbes and Pufendorf. He distinguishes between perfect rights that are necessary to the survival of society and that must be sanctioned by civil law, and imperfect rights that cannot be rendered a matter of compulsion in society without greater loss than benefit; he lists the rights of individuals, such as rights to life, reputation, and private judgment. The explanation of the origin of property and the method of acquiring and transferring it is followed by contracts, the conditions of their validity, and the obligations implied in speech and oaths. The concluding chapters of the second book explain that recourse to violence is licit when rights are violated. Hutcheson also enlarges on the rights of war and on the ways in which controversies must be decided in the state of natural liberty. In short, Book II touches upon all the subjects treated by Pufendorf in the first book of De officio, and when Hutcheson deviates from Pufendorf, it is in most cases under the influence of Gershom Carmichael’s annotations to Pufendorf’s work, as we will see.

The third book of Hutcheson deals with the subjects treated by Pufendorf in his second book. On the themes of marriage, parental power, and master-servant relationships, Hutcheson stresses the equal obligation of man and woman to fidelity in marriage and their equal partnership and authority in the education of children, and he challenges the principles on which natural jurists defend slavery. Every man is born free, and no just war can justify slavery for the population or conquest of its territory. Hutcheson also challenges the violent origin of the state and espouses Pufendorf’s doctrine that the state is founded on the consent of people expressed in three acts: (1) a contract of union among citizens, (2) a decree of the people concerning the form of government and the nomination of governors, and (3) a covenant between the governors and the people “binding the rulers to a faithful administration of their trust, and the people to obedience.”12 As a state is “a society of free men united under one government for their common interest,” Hutcheson defends the right of resistance,13 even in the state where the prince’s power has not been limited by the original contract. He denies the existence and legitimacy of monarchies founded on a pretended “divine right,” the patrimonial states, and is sarcastic about the subtleties of inheritance in hereditary monarchies.14 He follows Locke in the division of powers among the different organs of the state, Aristotle in his discussion of the forms of government, and Harrington in stressing the importance of the different forms of government and the necessity of some agrarian law to moderate the amount of lands owned by a single citizen. According to Hutcheson, the state has the duty, not only to provide for the safety and prosperity of the citizen, but also to provide for general religious instruction and to promote all the incentives to cultivating the four cardinal virtues. In the last chapters of the third book, on the laws of war, on treaties, and on ambassadors, Hutcheson follows not only Pufendorf, but also the Dutch natural jurist Cornelis van Bijnkershoek; this is a sign, perhaps, that Hutcheson thinks his compendium fit for a larger audience than the students of Glasgow or for Glaswegian students who have to complete their legal studies abroad.

Hutcheson and Carmichael

In his Preface Hutcheson declares that much of his compendium “is taken . . . from Pufendorf’s smaller work, de officio hominis et civis, which that worthy and ingenious man the late Professor Gershom Carmichael of Glasgow, by far the best commentator of that book, has so supplied and corrected that the notes are of much more value than the text.”15 In addition to minor points that Hutcheson receives from Carmichael, there are basic and deep agreements between the pupil and his former teacher. First of all they agree on the two precepts in which the law of nature is summarized,16 veneration of God and promotion of the common good, though Hutcheson does not want to start from the law of nature as a commandment of God, but rather wants to derive it from his teleological recognition of providence and the powers of human nature. Hutcheson follows Pufendorf and Carmichael’s theory of the original contract, concurs with Locke and Carmichael that even in a just war the conquerors have no right to enslave a nation, and concurs with Carmichael that most of the people in a conquered nation are innocent, that a slave is not property, and that children of slaves are born free. He shares Carmichael’s defense of the right of resistance and his strictures against the peculiar sanctity of the sovereign authority and against the legitimacy of patrimonial states. Hutcheson’s chapter on quasi-contracts17 is derived from Carmichael, and he clearly acknowledges the implications of this doctrine for his view of the duties of children to their parents, of orphans to their adoptive parents, and for his polemic against slavery; he uses it also to state that the original contract binds posterity without consent.18

Hutcheson and Hume

Hutcheson received a copy of the first and second books of David Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature from Henry Home early in 1739, and, months later, Hume sent him the manuscript of the third book, Of Morals. Very likely he received a visit from David Hume in the winter of 1739–1740. Whereas Hutcheson’s reaction to the first two books was positive, differences appeared between the two men concerning morality.

We know of these differences through four extant letters from Hume to Hutcheson. Whereas Hume had to defend himself against the accusation of lacking “warmth in the Cause of Virtue,” he criticized Hutcheson for founding the notion of “natural” on final causes.19 Since they agreed that morality is founded on sentiment and not on reason, they must also agree that “it regards only human Nature and human life” and that nothing is known about the morality of superior Beings.20 They had a number of differences also concerning the notion of virtue. According to Hume and in contrast to Hutcheson, benevolence is not the sole or chief virtue, justice is an artificial virtue, natural abilities like the accomplishments of body and mind are virtues, and utility perceived through sympathy is the foundation of merit. Hume also declared that he took his “Catalogue of Virtue from Cicero’s Offices.”21

In 1742 Hutcheson presented Hume with a copy of his Institutio Compendiaria and received the fourth of Hume’s letters. While Hume reassured Hutcheson on the purity and elegance of his Latin, he added some critical reflections on particular points of Hutcheson’s book. He could not approve the distinction between calm affections and passions, Hutcheson’s adoption of Butler’s hegemonic moral sense, his explanation of the origin of property and justice, or his fear of deriving “any thing of Virtue from Artifice and human Conventions.” Moreover he repeated, as a common opinion, that Hutcheson “limited too much” his “ideas of Virtue.”

Did Hutcheson answer Hume’s criticisms? The first edition of the Institutio is already in many ways an answer to Hume. The first chapter of the first book presents a teleological approach to ethics that we cannot find in the earlier “four Treatises,” and the first chapter of the second book culminates in two general laws of nature, where the first states, “God is to be worshipped with all love and veneration.” In the second chapter on the summum bonum, Hutcheson presents a general catalogue of virtues in which the four cardinal virtues appear after the kind affections. Moreover, he begins to talk about “some natural sense, different from the moral one, but not unlike it, by which we relish and value some powers of the mind and the body,” that is, Hume’s “natural abilities.” In his System of Moral Philosophy, he will enlarge on this sense, calling it “a sense of decency or dignity” and stressing its independence “from any indications of advantage by the spectators.”22 Moreover, Hutcheson, in his third chapter, adds a large list of virtues as specifications of the four cardinal virtues, a catalogue nowhere else so detailed, not even in the works of Cicero, Aristotle, or Henry More, to whom Hutcheson refers his readers.

In his second edition of 1745, Hutcheson does not change any word in the passages criticized by Hume, but his answer to Hume becomes more evident. In his Preface he declares: “The design of Cicero’s books de officiis, which are so very justly admired by all, has been mistaken inconsiderately by some very ingenious men, who speak of these books as intended for a compleat system of morals or ethicks.” But “The doctrine concerning virtue, and the supreme good, which is the principal and most necessary [three words omitted from the 1747 translation] part of ethicks, is to be found elsewhere. Nay in his own books de finibus, and Tusculan questions.” According to the Stoics, “the officia, or external duties of life” are “things indifferent, neither morally good nor evil.” Therefore, Cicero’s de officiis show “how persons in higher stations, already well instructed in the fundamentals of moral philosophy, should so conduct themselves in life, that in perfect consistence with virtue they may obtain great interest, power, popularity, high offices and glory.” Hume is certainly a likely target of this criticism.23

Hutcheson adds also two sections to the second chapter of the first book, presenting a detailed account of the passions according to the common Aristotelian and Ciceronian distinction—also adopted by Hume—of three classes of goods and evils: of the body, of the soul, and external goods.24 In this way Hutcheson can complete his account of human nature without renouncing his distinction between calm affections and turbulent passions. Finally, Hutcheson adds a seventh and last chapter to his first book. This chapter does not present new matter: the first section stresses the teleological and religious perspective of his ethics, the second section returns again to the four cardinal virtues, while the third is a warm encouragement to the practice of virtue and to confidence in God, with long quotations from Cicero. We can say that Hutcheson, fearful of the secularization of morals that Hume derives from human sentiments, tries to enforce the religious foundation, expands on his original idea that virtue is based on benevolence by tying it to the classical tradition of the four cardinal virtues, and presents his system as authorized by the most approved and cherished of the classical authors, Marcus Tullius Cicero, who used Aristotelian ideas to mitigate the rigorous teaching of the Stoics.

Editorial Principles

This edition is based on the second edition published in 1745, Philosophiae Moralis Institutio Compendiaria, Libris III. Ethices et Jurisprudentiae Naturalis Elementa Continens, Glasguae, Typis Roberti Foulis, M DCC XLV, and compared with the 1742 first edition, published with the same title and by the same publisher. The revisions that may have a substantial relevance have been included in the text by internal citations. While almost all additions and deletions are pointed out, more than 50 percent of the substitutions of mere stylistic relevance are not indicated: these include changes in capitalization, differences in spelling, minute changes of punctuation, changes in the order of words, and changes of verbal tenses and modes, of synonymic conjunctions, prepositions, and adverbs. Other relevant changes, such as a different order of paragraphs, are noted. In sum, the changes included in the text are indicated in the following way:

1. Strings of text (sentences or words) added to the 1745 edition are enclosed in {braces}.

2. Strings of text (sentences or words) deleted from the 1745 edition are enclosed in angle brackets.

3. Strings of text changed in the 1745 edition are indicated as follows: both the new and the old strings are enclosed in [square brackets] with the 1745 text first. To ease reading, the square brackets around 1745 text have been left out in cases where the change concerned no more than three words and the same number of words as in the 1742 text. So, for example, at page 3, line 4, “cognitu facilior [cognitione prior]” means that “cognitu facilior” of the 1745 edition is a substitution for “cognitione prior” of the first edition. So readers who want to read just the corrected 1745 edition have to accustom themselves to overlook strings in angle brackets, strings in square brackets where single, and strings in the second angle brackets where double.

Hutcheson draws heavily on Cicero for words, sentences, and parts of sentences. In adding quotation marks and references, I have restored to Cicero most of what was his own. Finally, a few printer’s errors have been silently corrected, and Greek standard characters are used instead of the original eighteenth-century abbreviations.

The English Translation

A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy, in Three Books, Containing the Elements of Ethicks and the Law of Nature was printed in Glasgow by Robert Foulis in 1747. In the present edition, the Latin text and the text of the English translation are presented on facing pages. As we learn from the advertisement of the anonymous translator, Hutcheson would have preferred that the book had not been translated, but having found it impossible, he “therefor thought it proper it should rather be done in Glasgow.” I have not been able to identify the author of the translation, but he is likely to be a person with whom Hutcheson was acquainted. Internal evidence shows that he was familiar with Hutcheson’s thought as well as with the literature on natural law. Moreover, he had in his hands the manuscript of A System of Moral Philosophy, as many added notes and the wording of several sentences depend on it. In the advertisement the translator says also that he used “some few Latin terms of art in the second and third book,” and he omitted a few sections “relating solely to some Latin ways of speaking in the civil law”; at the same time, he “inserted some short sentences, or added a note or two, to make some point clearer.” Therefore in the present edition there are the following alterations:

1. Strings of text (sentences or words) added by the translator are enclosed in {braces}.

2. Significant strings of text (sentences or words) omitted from the 1747 translation are added, enclosed in angle brackets.

3. Cases in which the translation is significantly unfaithful: More accurate translations are added in square brackets in the text where feasible, otherwise in the notes. I kept these interpositions to a minimum, allowing for a margin of arbitrariness, as in all translation. So readers who want to read the 1747 translation as corrected by the editor have to accustom themselves to overlook strings in square brackets where single, and strings in the second angle brackets where double, as well as strings in braces.

In both the Latin and the English text, notes by Hutcheson and by the translator are preceded by the original footnote markers (*, †, ‡, §, ‖, #). Editor’s notes are added to the original notes in square brackets or, when required, separately numbered.

I have made the English version with its annotation self-contained and independent of the Latin text, with only occasional, necessary references to the notes of the latter.

[1. ]See Leechman’s cited Preface quoted by W. R. Scott, Francis Hutcheson: His Life, Teaching and Position in the History of Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1900), pp. 62–65. Cf., particularly, this sentence in Hutcheson’s letter to Tom Drennan of June 15, 1741: “I . . . am adding confusedly to a confused book all valuable remarks in a farrago, to refresh my memory in my class lectures on several subjects” (ibidem, p. 114. Italics mine).

[2. ]Cf. James Moore, “The Two Systems of Francis Hutcheson: On the Origins of The Scottish Enlightenment,” Studies in the Philosophy of Scottish Enlightenment, ed. M. A. Stewart (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), pp. 57–58. See also J. Wodrow’s and W. Thom’s Letters quoted by P. Wood in “‘The Fittest Man in the Kingdom’: Thomas Reid and the Glasgow Chair of Moral Philosophy.” Hume Studies 23, no. 2 (1997), pp. 280–84.

[3. ]The letter is reproduced in Francis Hutcheson: On Human Nature, ed. Thomas Mautner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 98. Cf. Pufendorf, De officio hominis et civis, I.2.10.

[4. ]I quote from Mautner’s translation of Hutcheson’s Oratio Inauguralis,op. cit., p. 135.

[5. ]In the English version, A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy (Glasgow, 1747), “sensus decori et honesti” is translated as “conscience,” a Butlerian term Hutcheson never uses in the Institutio with reference to the moral sense.

[6. ]Short Introduction, p. 15.

[7. ]Ibidem, p. 56.

[8. ]See K. Haakonssen, Natural Law and Moral Philosophy: From Grotius to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 77–78.

[9. ]Short Introduction, p. 117.

[10. ]Ibidem, p. 120.

[11. ]These different lines of approach are present in all three works, but with different emphasis. If the deduction of the basic concepts of natural law from the ethics of moral sense had been more straightforward, the order of chapters and sections might have been the same in Hutcheson’s works.

[12. ]Short Introduction, p. 286.

[13. ]Ibidem, p. 304.

[14. ]Ibidem, pp. 303, 313, and 308–9.

[15. ]Short Introduction, p. i.

[16. ]Ibidem, pp. 117 and 244.

[17. ]Quasi-contract is a juridical fiction of Roman law through which a party acquires an obligation to another party without an actual former agreement.

[18. ]See Natural Rights on the Threshold of the Scottish Enlightenment:The Writings of Gershom Carmichael, ed. James Moore and Michael Silverthorne (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002), pp. xv–xvi and 117 note 17.

[19. ]The Letters of David Hume, ed. J. Y. T. Greig (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), pp. 32–33.

[20. ]Ibidem, p. 40.

[21. ]Ibidem, pp. 33–34.

[22. ]A System of Moral Philosophy (Glasgow, 1755), vol. I, pp. 27–28.

[23. ]See also below p. 4, note 2.

[24. ]Hutcheson had touched on the subject of turbulent motions of the soul or passions in the first edition, drawing, as usual, from Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations, IV.16 ff., in a short paragraph, which was canceled in the second edition.

Last modified April 10, 2014