Francis Hutcheson.

An essay on the nature and conduct of the passions and affections. With illustrations on the moral sense online

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A N /T6&



o F T H E

Paffions and Affettions.




By the Author of tb Inquiry into the
Original of our Ideas of l&eauty and

Hoc opus, hoc ftudium, parui properemus, & ampU 9
Si Patrice^ volmnus^fi Nobis viver-e cbari. Hor.


Printed by J. Darby and 7^ Browne, for
Smith and William Bruce t Bookfellers in
Dublin ; and fold by J. Osborn and 7*. Longman
in Pater-Nofter-Row, and S. Chandler in the
Poultry. M.DCC.XXVIII.





AL T H o the main prac-
tical ^Principles, which
are inculcated in this
Treatife, have this Pre*
judice in their Favour, that they
have been taught and propagated by
the beft of Men in all Ages, yet
there is reafon to fear that renewed
Treatifes upon Subjects fo often well
managed, may be look'd upon as
fuperfluous 5 efpecially fince little is
offered upon them which has not
often been well faid before. But
A 2


fcefide that general Confideration,
that old Arguments may iometimes
be fet in iuch a Light by one, as
will convince thofe who were not
moved by them, even when better
exprefs'd by another 5 fince, for e-
very Clafs of Writers, there are
ClaiTes of Readers adapted, who
cannot relifli any thing higher : Be-
fides this, I fay, the very Novelty
of a Book may procure a little At-
tention, from thofe who over-look
the Writings which the World has
long enjoy'd. And if by Curiofity, or
any other means, fome few can be
engag'd to turn their Thoughts to
thefe important Subjects, about which
a little Reflection will difcover the
Truth, and a thorow Confederation
of it may occafion a great Increafe
of real Happinefs 5 no Perfon need
be afliam'd of his Labours as ufe-
lefs, which do fuch Service to any of
his Fellow-Creatures.

The P R E F A c &' v


I F any fliould look upon fome
Things in this Inquiry into the faf-
Jions, as too fubtile for common
Apprehenfion, and confequently not
neceflary for the Inftruction of Men
in Morals, which are the common
bufmefs of Mankind : Let them
confider, that the Difficulty on thefe
Subjects arifes chiefly from fome pre*
vious Notions, equally difficult at
lead, which have been already re-
ceiv'd, to the great Detriment of
many a Natural Temper $ fince ma-
ny have been difcourag'd from all
Attempts of cultivating kind gene*
vous Affections in themfelves, by a
previous Notion that there are no
fuch Affections in Nature, and that
all Pretence to them was only Dif-
Jimulation, Affectation, or at beft
fome unnatural Enihujiafm. And
farther, that to difcover Truth on
thefe Subjects, nothing more is ne-
ceflary than a little Attention to
what paffes in our own Hearts,
A 3 and


and confequently every Man may
come to Certainty in thefe Points,
without much Art or Knowledge of
other Matters.

WHATEVER Confufion the
Schoolmen introduced into Philofo-
phy, fome of their keeneft Ad"
verfaries feem to threaten it with
a worfe kind of Confufion, by at-
tempting to take away fome of
the moft immediate fimple Tercep-
tions, and to explain all Appvoba-
tion, Condemnation, Tleafure and
tPain, by fome intricate Relations to
the Perceptions of the External Sen"
fes. In like manner they have treat-
ed our jDe/fres or Affections, mak-
ing the moft generous, kind and
difinterefted of them, to proceed from
Self-Love, by fome fubtle Trains of
Reafoning, to which honeft Hearts
are often wholly Strangers.


The PREFACE. vii

LET this alfo ftill be remembred
that the natural Difpojitions of Man-
kind will operate regularly in thofe
who never reflected upon them, nor
form'd juft Notions about them.
Many are really virtuous who can-
not explain what Virtue is. Some
ad a moft generous difinterefted Part
in Life, who have been taught to
account for all their Actions by
Self-Love, as their fole Spring.
There have been very different and
oppofite Opinions in Opticks, con-
trary Accounts have been given of
Hearing, voluntary Motion, Di~
gejlion, and other natural Actions.
But the Powers themfelves in rea-
lity perform their feveral Operations .
with fufficient Conftancy and Uni-
formity, in Perfons of good Health,
whatever their Opinions be about
them. In the fame manner our
moral Attions and Affections may
be in good order, when our Opini-
A 4 ons


ons are quite wrong about them.
fTrue Opinions however, about both,
may enable us to improve our natu-
ral Powers, and to rectify accidental
Diforders incident unto them. And
true Speculations on thefe Subjects
muft certainly be attended with as
much Tleafure as any other Parts
of Human Knowledge.

I T may perhaps feerh ftrange,
that when in this Treatife Virtue is
fuppos'd di/interejled^ yet fo much
Pains is taken, by a Comparifon of
cur feveral Tkafures, to prove the
<:Pkafures of Virtue to be the great-
eft we are capable of, and that con-
fequently it is our trueft Intereft to
be virtuous. But let it be remem-
her'd here, that tho there can be no
Motives or Arguments fuggefted
which can directly raife any ultimate
^Dejire^ fuch as that of our own
Happinefs, or publick Affettions (as
we attempt to prove in Treatife IV 3)
i yet


yet if both are natural 'iDiJpoJitions
of our Minds, and nothing can ftop
the Operation of publuk Affeffions
but fome felfifa Interefl, the only
way to give publick AlFedions their
full Force, and to make them pre-
valent in our Lives, muft be to re-
move thefe Opinions of oppofite In-
terejts, and to (hew a fuperior In-
tereft on their fide. If thefe Confi-
derations be juft and fufficiently at-
tended to, a natural ^Difpojltion
can fcarce fail to exert it felf to the

I N this Effay on the Taj/ions, the
Proofs and Illuftrations of a moral
Senfe, and Senfe of Honour are not
mentioned 3 becaufe they are fo, in the
Inquiry into Moral Good and Evil^
in the firft and fifth Setfions. Would
Men reflect upon what they feel in
themfelves, all Troofs in fuch Mat-
ters would be needlefs.



SOME ftrange Love of Simplicity
in the Structure of human Nature,
or Attachment to fome favourite
Hypothejls, has engag'd many Wri-
ters to pafs over a great mznyjimple
Perceptions, which we may find in
our felves. We have got the Num-
ber Five fixed for our external Sen-
fes, tho Seven or Ten might as ea-
fily be defended. We have Multi-
tudes of Perceptions which have no
relation to any external Senfation 5
if by it we mean ^Perceptions, oc-
cafiond by Motions or Imprejpons
made on our Bodies 3 fuch as the
Ideas of Number , 'Duration , fro-
portion^ Virtue, Vice, ^Pleafures of
Honour, of Congratulation 5 the
fains of Remorfe, Shame, Sympa-
thy, and many others. It were to
be wifli'd, that thofe who are at
fuch Pains to prove a beloved Max-
im, that " all Ideas arife from Sen"
" fation and Rejleffion" had fo ex-



plain 'd themfelves, that none fliould
take their Meaning to be, that all
our Ideas are either external Senfa-
tions, or reflex Afls upon external
Senfations : Or if by Reflection they
mean an inward fewer of <per~
ception, as I fancy they do, they had
as carefully examin'd into the feve-
ral kinds of internal Perceptions^ as
they have done into the external
Senfattons : that we might have feen
whether the former be not as natu-
ral and necejfar^s the latter. Had
they in like manner confider'd our
Affections without a previous No-
tion, that they were all from Self-
Love, they might have felt an ul-
timate 'Defire of the Happinefs of
others as eafily conceivable, and as
certainly implanted in the human
Breaft, tho perhaps not fo ftrong as

THE Author hopes this imper-
fect Effay will be favourably re-


xii The P R E F A c .

ceiv'd, till fome Perfon of greater
Abilities and Leifure apply himfelf
to a more ftrict Philofophical Inqui-
ry into the various natural 'Prin-
ciples or natural 'Dtjpofitions of
Mankind 5 from which perhaps a more
exad Theory of Morals may be
form'd, than any which has yet ap-
pear'd : and hopes that this Attempt,
to fliew the fair fide of the human
Temper, may be of fome little ufe
towards this great End.

THE principal Objections offer'd
by Mr. Clarke of Hull, againft the
fecond Section of the fecond Trea-
tife, occurred to the Author in Con-
verfation, and had apprized him of
the neceffity of a farther illuftration
of dtfinterejisd Affettions, in anfwer
to his Scheme of deducing them from
Setf-Love, which feem'd more in-
genious than any which the Author
of the Inquiry ever yet faw in print.
He takes better from Mr. Clarke^ all


The PREFACE. xiii

other Parts of his Treatment, than
the raifing fuch an Outcry againft
him as Injurious to ChrijHanity y for
Principles which fome of the mofl
zealous Chriflians have publickly
maintained : He hopes Mr. Clarke
will be fatisfy'd upon this Point, as
well as about the Scheme of dtfin-
terejled Affections, by what is of-
fer a in the Treatife on the tPaffions,
Seel:. I. and defignedly placed here,
rather than in any diftincl: Reply,
both to avoid the difagreeable Work
of Anfweving or Remarking upon
Books, wherein it is hard to keep off
too keen and offenfive Expreflions 5
and alfo, that thofe who have had
any of the former Editions of the
Inquiry, might not be at a lofs a-
bout any Ilhtftrattons or additional
Proofs necefiary to complete the

THE lafl Treatife had never feen
the Light, had not fome worthy


xiv The P R E FACE.

Gentlemen miftaken fome things a-
bouc the moral Senfe alledg'd to be
in Mankind : Their Objections gave
Opportunity of farther Inquiry into
the feveral Schemes of accounting for
our moral Ideas, which fome ap-
prehend to be wholly different from,
and independent on, that Senfe which
i -the Author attempts to eftablifh.
The following Papers attempt to
fhew, that all thefe Schemes muft
neceflarily prefuppofe thismoral Senfe y
and be relolv'd into it : Nor does
the Author endeavour to over-turn
them, or reprefent them as unnecef-
fary Superftructures upon the Foun-
dation of a moral Senfe $ tho what
he has fuggefted will probably fliew
a con(iderable Confufion in fome of
the Terms much ufed on thefe Sub-
jects. One may eafily fee from the
great variety of Terms, and diver-
fity of Schemes invented, that all
Men feel fomething in their own
Hearts recommending Virtue, which



yet it is difficult to explain. This
Difficulty probably arifes from our
previous Notions of a fmall Num-
ber of Strifes, fo that we are un-
willing to have recourfe in our The-
ories to any more 5 and rather ftrain
out fome Explication of moral I-
deas, with relation to fome other
natural Powers of Perception uni-v
verfally acknowledged. The like
difficulty attends feveral other T^r-
ceptions, to the Reception of which
Philofophers have not generally at
figned their diftintt Senfes^ fuch as
natural beauty, Harmony, the Per-
fection of <Poetry y Architecture^ 2)*?-
Jigning, and fuch like Affairs of Ge-
nius, Tafte, or Fancy : The Ex-
plications or Theories on thefe Sub-
jects are in like manner full of Con-
fiifion and Metaphor.

T o define Virtue by agreeabk-
nefe to this moral Senfe, or defcri-
bing it to be kind Jffe&ion, may


xvi The PREFACE.

appear perhaps too uncertain 5 con-
fidering that the Senfe of particular
Perfons is often depraved by Cnf-
tom, Habits, falfe Opinions, Com-
pany : and that fome particular
kind Taffions toward fome Perfons
are really pernicious, and attended
with very unkind Affections toward
others, or at leaft with a Neglect of
their Interefts. We muft therefore
only aflert in general, that " every
<c one calls that Temper, or thofe
" Actions virtuous, which are ap-
" prov'd by his own Senfe ^ and
withal, that " abftracting from par-
<c ticular Habits or Prejudices, every
" one is fo conftituted as to approve
" every particular kind Affettion
" toward any one, which argues no
" want of Affettion toward others.
" And conftantly to approve that
tt Temper which defires, and thofe
i Actions which tend to procure
" the greateft Moment of Good in
" the Power of the Agent toward


R E F A c E. xv

" the moft extenfive Syftem to
" which it can reach 3 " and con-
fequently, that the Perfection of
Virtue confiils in u having the ai-
" verfal calm Benevolence y the pre-
" valent Affection of the Mind, fo
" as to limit and counteract not on^
" ly the felfi/h ^Paffions, but even
" the particular kind j4jfetions"

OUR moral Senfe fhews this to
be the higheft Perfection of our
Nature 3 what we may fee to be
thew^or Dejign of fuch a Structure,
and confequently what is requir'd of
us by the Author of our Nature :
and therefore if any one like thefe
Defcriptions better, he may call
Virtue, with many of the Antients,
" Vita fecundum naturam^ '' or
" acting according to what we
" may fee from the Constitution
" of our Nature, we were in-
" tended for by our Creator 7 /'


xviii The P R E FACE.

I F this Moral Senfe were once
fet in a convincing Light, thofe
vain Shadows of Objections againft
a virtuous Life, in which fome are
wonderfully delighted, would foon
vanifli : alledging, that whatever
we admire or honour in a moral
Spectes, is the effect of Art, Edu-
cation, Cujlom, Policy, or fubtle
Views of Intereft 5 we fliould then

umus, & qmdnam <vitfuri
gignimur. Perf.

"T \ s true, a Tower of Reafon-
ing is natural to us $ and we muft
own, that all Arts and Sciences
which are well founded, and tend
Co direct our Actions, are, if not
to be called Natural, an Improve*
ment upon our Nature : yet if Vir-
tue be looked upon as wholly Ar-
tificial, there are I know not what
Sufpicions againft it 5 as if indeed


The PREFACE. xix

it might tend to the greater In-
tereft of large Bodies or Socie-
ties of Men, or to that of their
Governors 5 whereas a private Per-
fon may better find his Interef y
or enjoy greater Pleafures in the
Practices counted vicious, efpeci*-
ally if he has any Probability of
Secrecy in them. Thefe Sufpicions
mud be entirely removd, if we
have a moral Senfe and pub/ick
Affettions^ whofe Gratifications are
conftituted by Nature, our moft in-
tenfe and durable Tleafures.

I HOPE it is a good Omen
of fomething ftill better on this
Subject to be expected in the lear*
ned World, that Mr. Butler, in
his Sermons at the Rolls Chapel,
has done fo much Juftice to the
wife and good Order of our Na-
ture 3 that the Gentlemen, who
have oppos'd fome other Senti-
ments or the Author of the /-
quiry, feem convinc'd of a mo-
a z ral


ral Senfe, Some of them have
by a Miftake made a Compli-
ment to the Author, which does
not belong to him 5 as if the
World were any way indebted to
him for this Difcovery. He has
too often met with the Senfus
^Decon & Honeftij and with the
AuWpf tLyaSteiti^ to afliime any fuch
thing to himfelf.

SOME Letters in the London
Journals , fubfcribed fht/aretus ,
gave the firft Occafion to the
fourth Freatife 5 the Anfwers
given to them bore too vifible
Marks of the Hurry in which
they were wrote , and therefore
the Author declined to continue
the Debate that way $ chufing to
fend a private Letter to ^Phila-
retus, to defire a more private
Corrcfpondence on the Subject of
our Debate, I have been fince
informed, that his Death difap-
cpiated my great Expectations from

The PREFACE. xxi

fo ingenious a Correfpondent. The
Objections propofed in the firft Sec-
tion of Treatife IV, are not al-
ways thofe of Thilaretus, tho I
have endeavoured to leave no Ob-
je&ions of his unanfwer'd 3 but I
alfo interiperfed whatever Obje&i-
ons occurr'd to me in Converfa-
tion on thefe Subjects. I hope I
have not ufed any Expreffions in-
confiftent with the high Regard I
have for the Memory of fo inge-
nious a Gentleman, and of fuch
Diftinaion in the World.

THE laft Section of the Fourth
Treatife, was occafion'd by a pri-
vate Letter from a Perfon of the
mod real Merit, in Glafgow 5 re-
prefenting to me fome Sentiments
not uncommon among good Men,
which might prejudice them againft
any Scheme of Morals, not whol-
ly founded upon *P\ety. This Point
is, I hope, fo treated, as to re-
jnove the Difficulty.

1 H

xxii The PREFACE.

THE Deference due to a Per-
fon, who has appear 'd fo much
in the learned World, as M. Le
ClevCj would feem to require, that
I fhould make fome Defenfe a-
gainft, or Submiffion to, the Re-
marks he makes in his Biblio-
theque Anctenne & Moderns. But
I cannot but conclude from his
Abftracl:, efpecially from that of
the laft Seffion of the Inquiry, ei-
ther that I don't understand his
French, or he my Enghjb, or that
he has never read more than the
Titles of fome of the Se&ions : and
if any one of the three be the
Cafe, we are not fit for a Con-

I K the References, at bottom of
Pages, rhe Inquiry into Beauty is
called Treatife I. That into the
Ideas of moral Good and Evil, is
Treatife II. The Eflay on the Paf-
fions, Treattfe III. And the Uluf-
trations on the moral Senfe, Trea-
fife IV THE




An Effay on the Nature and Condutt of
the Taffions.

S E C T. I. \ General Account of ourfeve-

y~\_ rat Senfes and Defires,

SelflJbor.PubUck. Page i.

SECT. II. Of the Affedions and Paffions :
The natural Laws of pure Affection : The con-
futed Senfations of the Pa/ions, with their fi-
nal Caufes. 27.

SECT. III. Particular Divifwns of the Af-
fections and Pafllons. 58.

SECT. IV. Howfar our fever al AfFe&ions
and Paffions are under our Power, either to
govern them when raifed, or to -prevent their a-
rifing : with fome general Observations about


SECT. V. A Comparifon of the Pleafures
and Pains of the fever al Senfes, as to Intenfenefs
and Duration. 126-



SECT. VI. Some general Conclufions con-
cerning the beft Management of our Defires.
With fome Principles necejfary to Happinefs.

Page 165.


IL L US TR4?IO NS upon the Moral Senfe.

Page 205.

SECT. I. Concerning the Character of Virtue ',
agreable to Truth or Reafon. 213.

SECT. II. Concerning that Character of Vir-
tue and Vice ; the Fitnefs or Unfitnefs of Ac-
tions. 245.

SECT. HI. Mr. Woolafton'j Significancy
of Truth, as the Idea of Virtue confidefd. 253.

SECT. IV. Shewing the Ufe 0/ Reafon con-
cerning Virtue and Vice, upon Suppofition that
we receive thefe Ideas by a Moral Senfe. 275.

SECT. V. Shewing that Virtue may have
whatever is meant by Merit j and be reward-
able upon the Suppofition that it is perceived by
a Senfe, and elecJedfrom Affection or Inftinft.

SECT. VI. How far a Regard to the Deity
is necfffary to make an Aftion virtuous. 301.





o F T H E



A general Account of our federal
or Publick.

>' ' H E Nature of human A&ions

cannci be fufficiently under-

flood without confidering the

- Affeflions and TaJJlons ; or

thofe Modifications, or Attions of the

Mind confequent upon the Apprehenfion of

certain Objetts or Events, in which the

Mind generally conceives Good or Evil*

B In

Nature and Conduft

like manner, Affections, Temper s y Senti-
or Attions, refle&ed upon in our
felves, or obferved in others, are the con-
flant Qccafions of agreeable or difagreeable
Perceptions, which we call Approbation,
or 'Dtflike. Thefe Moral 'Perceptions a-
rife in us as neceflarily as any other Senfa-
tions ; nor can we alter, or flop them, while
our previous Opinion or Apprehenjion of
the Affettion^ Temper, or Intention of the
Agent continues the fame ; any more than
we can make the Tafte of Wormwood
fweet, or that of Honey bitter. /

IF we may call every ^Determination of
our Minds to receive Ideas independently
on our Willy and to have ^Perceptions of
yieajure and Tain, A SENSE, we mail
find many other Senfes beflde thofe com-
monly explained. Tho it is not eafy to
affign accurate Divifions on iuch Subjedis,
yet we may reduce them to the following
ClafTes, leaving it to others to arrange them
as they think convenient. A little Reflec-
tion will mew that there are iuch Natural

the Concomitant Ideas arc reputed Images of fomething Ex-

From all thefe we may juftly diftinguifli " the Pleafures
" perceived upon the previous Reception and Comparifon of
" various fenfible Perceptions, with their concomitant Ideas,
." or intellectual Ideas, when we find Uniformity, or Rc-
*' femblance among them." Thefe are meant by the Per-
ceptions of the internal Senfe,


of the PASS IONS. 5

Towers in the human Mind, in whatever Seel:.
Order we place them. In the ift Clafs are
the External Senfes, univerfally known.
In the 2d, the Tleafant "Perceptions ari-
fmg from regular^ harmonious, uniform
Objects ; as alfo from Grandeur and No-
velty. Thefe we may call, after Mr.
ADDISON, the Pleafures of the Imaginati-
on ; or we may call the Power of receiving
them, an Internal Senfe. Whoever diflikes
this Name may fubftitute another. 3. The
next Clafs of Perceptions we may call a
^Ptiblick Senfe, viz*. " our Determination
" to be pleafed with the Happinefs of o-
" thers, and to be uneafy at their Mifery?
This is found in fome degree in all Men,
and was fometimes called ^otvovo^o<rvvn, or
Senfus Communis by fome of the Antients.
4. The fourth Clafs we may call the Moral
Senfe i by which " we perceive Virtue,
or Vice in our felves, or others." This is
plainly diftincl: from the former Clafs of
Perceptions, fince many are flrongly af-
fected with the Fortunes of others, who
feldom reflecl: upon Virtue, or Vice in
themfelves, or others, as an Objed: : as
we may find in Natural Ajfec^ion^ Com-
pajjion, Friendjhip* or even general Bene-
volence to Mankind, which conned: our
Happinefs or Plealure with that of others,
even when we are not reflecting upon our
own Temper, nor delighted with the Per-
ception of our own Virtue. 5. The fifth
B 3 Clafs

6 The 'Nature and

Seel:, i .Clafs is a Senfe of Honour^ " which makes
^.Approbation, or Gratitude of others,
for any good Adions we have done, the
neceffary occafion of Pleafure ; and their
'Diflike, Condemnation^ or Refentment
of Injuries done by us, the occafion of
that uneafy Senfation called Shame, even
when we fear no further evil from them.'*

THERE are perhaps other ^Perceptions
diftincl: from all thefe ClafTes, fuch as fome
Ideas " vi'Decency* ^Dignity, Suitablenefs to
' human Nature in certain Actions and Cir-
" cumftances; and of an Indecency, Mean-
*' nefs, and 'Vnwor thine fs, in the contrary
'* Actions or Circumftances, even without
" any conception of Moral Good, or E-
" vil." Thus the Pleafures of Sight ^ and
Hearing, are more efleemed than thofe of
Tafte or Touch : The Purfuits of the Plea-
fures of the Imagination, are more ap-
proved than thofe of fimple external Sen^
fations. *Plato * accounts for this diffe-
rence from a conflant Opinion of Innocence
in this fort of Pleafures, which would re-
duce this Perception to the Moral Senfe.
Others may imagine that the difference is
riot pwing to any luch Reflection upon their
Innocence, but that there is a different fort
of Perceptions in thefe cafes, to be reckon*
ed another Clafe of Senfations.

Ifippias Majpr, See atfq Treat* 2. SeCl. ?. Aft. 7.


of the PASSIONS. 7

Sed. i.

II. DESIRES arife incur Mind, from ^y^y
the Frame of our Nature, upon Apprehen-jfJ^ ]J~
fion of Good or Evil in Objects, Actions, our Defies.
or Events, to obtain for our felves or ci-
thers the agreeable Senfation^ when the
Obje<5b or Event is good ; or to prevent the
nneafy Senfation, when it is evil. Our
original Defires and Averfions may there-
fore be divided into five ClafTes, anfwering
to the Clafles of our Senfes. i . The De-
fire of fenfual 'Pleafare, (by which we
mean that of the external Senfes) ; and
Averfion to the oppofite Pains. 2. The
Defires of the Tleafares of Imagination or
Internal Senfe *, and Averfion to what is
difagreeable to it. 3. Defires of the Plea-
fures arifing from Tublick Happinefs, and
Averfion to the Pains arifing from the Mi-
fery of others. 4. Defires of Virtue, and
Averfion to Vice, according to the Notions
we have of the Tendency of Actions to
the Publick Advantage or Detriment.

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Online LibraryFrancis HutchesonAn essay on the nature and conduct of the passions and affections. With illustrations on the moral sense → online text (page 1 of 18)