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Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment BritainNew Case Studies$
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Ruth Savage

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199227044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227044.001.0001

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Reasoning about morals from Butler to Hume

Reasoning about morals from Butler to Hume

(p.169) 8 Reasoning about morals from Butler to Hume
Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment Britain

Aaron Garrett

Oxford University Press

In this chapter it is argued that Hume’s stress on experiment in moral philosophy has one of its primary sources in Butler’s criticisms of Clarke’s moral rationalism and his arguments for a moral philosophy based on probable reason and restricted to experience. Butler avoids claims about providence and other metaphysical explanations (without at the same time denying their existence), and it is important to understand the origin of his sermons at the Rolls Chapel as discourses to lawyers. Butler also anatomized human nature and tried to give an account of what morals are for creatures like us, both of which prefigure and likely influenced Hume.

Keywords:   Joseph Butler, David Hume, moral rationalism, Rolls Chapel, human nature, Lord Shaftesbury, Samuel Clarke, Francis Hutcheson

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