Round-table to the 10-th Anniversary of the Yearbook, Eticheskaya Mysl (Ethical Thought)
What is the meaning and purpose of philosophical ethics? To what extent it can be considered self-sufficient, autonomous from other areas of humanities? What is the relationship of ethics and philosophy; of philosophical and applied ethics? Does the modern development of applied ethics poses a threat to the philosophical ethics, or, conversely, gives an additional incentive to rethink traditional subjects of philosophical ethics and expand its traditional problematique? What challenges philosophical ethics faces today and what is the potential of its advancement? These and other questions were the focus of discussion on the 10th anniversary of the yearbook “Ethical Thought”.
Keywords: philosophical ethics, ethics and philosophy, applied ethics, metaphysics, personal ethics, morality, ethics and mathematics
Suicide and Radical Self-definition of Subject in David Hume
The paper reveals the relationship between basic ontological conceptions of David Hume and his ethics. The subject of the study is Hume’s explanation of the acceptability of suicide as a radical way of expressing the individual’s own identity. Suicide is presented by Hume as a logical consequence of the human being’s actual ontological constitution. It is considered not as a violation of moral duty, let it be to the supreme principle, the social environment, or to himself. The justification of suicide is based on deistic worldview.
Keywords: David Hume, deism, ethics, subject, death, self-definition, suicide
The Sense of Morality in David Hume’s Ethics
Hume was among those first Modern philosophers, who brought into discourse the general notion of morality, the idea of which is featured in Hume’s ethics by the following: a) morality is a sphere of decisions, efforts, and judgments, oriented towards common interests and common good; b) the agent’s autonomy is not significant; c) morality is found in the sphere of human interaction and directs the latter to establishment and maintenance of peacefulness; d) morality is dual by nature, what is discovered either in divergence of natural and artificial virtues, or in the character of moral obligations, which express the necessity, on the one hand, to promote others’ good determined by comprehension given by sympathy that others may suffer because of the lack of the good and, on the other hand, to fulfill the agreements, which are considered as inherently significant; e) moral relations are the relations of partnership, reciprocity, and mutual benevolent disposition; Hume pays main attention to the actions undertaken in expectation of others’ reciprocity, e. g. initiative actions for the sake of others’ good, rather than to actions reactive actions reciprocal to others’ good deeds.
Key-words: Hume, morality, obligation, sympathy, benevolence, reciprocity
On the Nature of Morality in David Hume’s Philosophy
The paper attempts to identify the ethical meaning of David Hume’s sentimentalism. Hume’s approach to the understanding of the nature of morality was aimed at revealing its special character, which was interpreted rather as a peculiar manifestation of human nature, than as the nature of things. Hume believed that morality was a peculiar feature that distinguished human beings from all other creatures. It is associated primarily with the affective side of human nature, governs actions and expresses the value relation of a human being to the world, distinct from the cognitive relationship.
Key-words: Hume, morality, human nature, sentimentalism, rationalism, Hume’s law, affection, moral sense, understanding
David Hume’s Idea of Humanity
According to Hume, pursuing humanity is a prominent factor in the efforts aimed at benefiting the whole society. He considered justice, together with humanity, significant aspects in protecting the life of human community and mutual human solidarity. In Hume’s conception of humanity we can define active and passive forms of humanity. The active form means the direct involvement of moral agent through his participation in the activity developed for the benefit of the strangers in need of help. The passive form of humanity means that our behaviour expresses our compassion with the strangers affected, for example by disaster. Following Hume’s ideas we may speak about humanity in every cases in which human life is protected and maintained. Humanity is one of the most significant moral principles on which the human society is based as a society of the co-operating individuals.
Key words: Hume, humanity, active and passive humanity, utilitarianism
Hume’s Guillotine: pro et contra
Hume’s Guillotine is a criticism of ethicists who make normative claims (about what ought to be) based on descriptive premises (about what is). Not all philosophers agree that is-ought problem is a real one, or that it is correctly described. The paper examines the main versions and objections against Hume’s law. Accepting the Hume’s idea of logical incompatibility of normative and descriptive claims the author purposes at the same time to make more exact the Hume’s formula and thus to avoid incidental interpretations and controversies.
Key words: Hume’s Guillotine, is-ought problem, normative and descriptive claims, logical incompatibility, cognitivism and noncognitivism, explanation and justification of morality
Between Natural and Artificial: the Normative Content and Psychological Mechanisms of Ethics of Justice in D.Hume and A.Smith
The paper attempts to systematically compare theories of justice of David Hume and Adam Smith. The main criteria of this comparison are the breadth of normative content attributed to justice and the role of pre-conventional, natural, “instinctive” elements of this virtue. Hume uses a very restricted definition of justice and considers it as an artificial virtue equivalent to strict adherence to conventional rules of property-owning. Smith on the contrary proposes the wide definition concentrated around the notion of individual injury and finds out the natural substructure of justice – the character trait of “natural equity” generating more or less intense resentment against every injurer. The author shows that the distance between two theories can be estimated differently depending on our interpretation of how Hume solves the problem of motivational forces supporting the compliance with rules of justice (the so called Hume’s motivational circle).
Keywords: D.Hume A.Smith justice equity natural virtues artificial virtues property resentment
David Hume and the Idea of Emotional Resonance in Ethics
The article on the basis of David Hume’s ideas demonstrates that emotional resonance takes place in complicated situations of social activity when an individual acquire the capability to identify typical actions of people in the typical situations. He reacts emotionally positively on his own actions if they principally coincided with appropriate typical actions of others. The acts of behavior acquire stable character because individual emotions reinforces due to their comparison and coincidence with the emotions of others. We also consider other situations when different emotions stimulate moral behavior but emotional resonance does not happen.
Keywords: moral, behavior, emotions, emotional resonance, justice
David Hume on the Principles of Morality for the Civil Society
Socio-ethical views of D. Hume are analyzed in the context of alive practice of a civil society, and educational project of Enlightenment. Conventionality and artifice were defined by Hume as foundations for a social life. The author considers them as the basic principles of morality for a civil society.
Keywords: civil society, conventionality, contract, convention, artifice, artificial virtue, coordination, functional explanation, profit, artificial virtue
Hume’s Guillotine and J.R.Searl’s Institutional Approach
The article is focused on institutional approach of J. Searle to resolving the Hume’s “is-ought” problem. Stages of the process of derivation of “ought” from “is” are analyzed by the example of act of promising. The author supports the idea of P. Singer about the necessity of analyzing the “is-ought” problem from the viewpoint of correlation of facts, values and actions.
Keywords: Hume, “is-ought” problem, fact, value, action, “is”, “ought”, J. Searle, institutionalism
Hume’s Notion of Pride: The Moral Agenсy as the Basis for Personal Identity
The paper is devoted to the Hume’s understanding of pride as such an affect which has the idea of Self as the object, but such kind of object which is necessary for making some phenomena the source of pride, on the one hand, and on the other – which is founded by pride itself. Self as an identity (and not only as a bunch of impressions) can be found neither within the epistemic discourse nor through the passions of pride and humility but through the pride as a value providing the person’s ability to act and founding the moral agency, Hume’s pride in some sense can be correlated with Kant’s arrogantia moralis (moral pride). His understanding of the role of the idea of the Self for the moral act can be correlated with the Aristotle’s great-souled or proud man.
Key words: Hume, pride, humility, personal identity, moral agent, action