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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chufe to bring upon our lelves, upon their
feveral Occafions. The Prolpedt of any
confiderable Good for our felves, or thole
we love, raifes Defire $ and this Defire is
accompanied with uneajy confufed Sen fa-
tions , which often occafion Fretfulnefs,
Anxiety^ and Impatience. We find vi-
olent Motions in our Bodies; and are
often made unfit for ferious Deliberation
about the Means of obtaining the Good
deftred "When it is firft obtained, we find
violent confufed Senfations of Joy, beyond
the Proportion of the Good itfelf, or its
Moment to our Happinefs. If we are
difappointed, we feel a Seufation of Sorrow
and %)efeffiQn 9 which is often entirely
ulelcfs to our prefent State. Forefeen Evils
are antedated by painful Senfations of Fear ;
and Reflection, attended with Senfations
of Sorrow, gives a tedious Exiftence to
tranfitory Misfortunes. Our public k *De-
Jires are in the fame manner accompanied
with painful Senfations. The Prefence or
Sufpence of Good or Evil to others , is
made the Occafion of the like confufed
Senfations. A little Reflection will fliew,
that none of thefe Senfations depend upon
our Choice, but arife from the very Frame


48 Te Nature an

Sect. 2- of our Nature, however we may regulate
or moderate them.

. VI. L E T us then examine " for what
" Purpofe our Nature was fo conftituted,

- _ _ . -^

' that Senfations do thus neceflarily arife
" in us. " Would not thofe fir ft forts of
Senfations^ by which we apprehend Good
and Evil in the Objects themfelves, have
been fufficient, along with our Reafon and
pure 'Defires^ without thofe Senfations at-
tending the very Defires thefnfelves, for
which they are called 'Pajfions, or thofe
Senfations which attend our Reflection
upon the Prefence, Abfence, or Approach
of Good or Evil ?

THE common Anfwef, that " they
" are given to us as ufeful Incitements or
" Spurs to Action, by which we are
" roufed more effectually to promote our
" private Good, or that of the Publick, *
is too general and undetermined. What
need is there for roufing us to Action, more
than a calm pure 'Dejire of Good, and
Averfion to Evil would do, without thefe
confufed Senfations? Say they, " we are
" averfe to Labour; we are apt to be
" hurried away by Avocations of Curio-
** Jity or Mirth ; we are often fo indolent
" and averfe to the vigorous Ufe of our
" Powers, that we ihould neglect our
" true Intereft without thefe ibllicitiog

" Sen*

of the PASSIONS. 49

" Senfations." But may it not be anfwer- Se<5t 2.
ed, that if Labour and vigorous UFe
our Powers be attended with TJneafinefs
or Pain, why mould not th s be brought
into the Account? The Purfuit of a fmall
Good by great Toil is really fooiifh ; vi-
olent Labour may be as pernicious as any
thing elfe : Why mould we be excired to
any uneajy Labour, except for prepolient
Good ? And, when the Good \sprepollent)>
what need of any further Incitement than
the calm Defire of it ? The fame may be
faid of the Avocations of Cxrirjity or
Mirth ; if their ahfolute fleafures be
greater than that of the good from which
they divert us, why mould we not b
diverted from it ? If not, then the real
Moment of the Good propofed is fufficieht
to engage our Purluit of it, in Oppofition
to our Guriofity or Mirth.

IF indeed our Averfion to Labour, of"
Our Propenfity to Mirth be accompanied
with thefe Senfations, then it was necejfta-
ly that other 'De/ires mould be attended
with like Senfations, that Ib a Ballanc^
might be preferved. So if we have confufed
Senfation ftrengthning and fixing our fri*
vafe *DeJires, the like Senfation joined td
fublick Affettions is neceflary^ left th<5
former Defires mould wholly engrofs out
Minds : If weight be caft into one Scale*
as much mud be put into the other to pre-

50 T'he Natttre an A Conduct

Seel:. 2.ferve an Equilibrium. But the firft Que-
n is, " whence arofe the NecdTity of
" fuch additional Incitements on either
" fide?"

I T muft be very difficult for Beings of
fuch imperfect Knowledge as we are, to
anfwer fuch Queftions : we know very
little of the Conftitution of Nature, or
what may be neceflary for the Perfection
of the whole. The Author of Nature has
probably formed many active Beings, whofe
Defires are not attended with conrufed Sen-
fations, raifing them into Pafllons like to
ours. There is probably an infinite Vari-
ety of Beings, of all poflible Degrees, in
which the Sum of Happinefs exceeds that
of Mifery. We know that our State is
abfolutely Good^ notwithftanding a confi-
derable Mixture of Evil. The Goodnefs
of the great Author of Nature appears
even in producing the inferior Natures*
provided their State in the whole be abfo-
lutely Good : Since we may probably con-
clude*, that there are in the Univerfe as
many Species of fuperior Natures, as was
confiftent with the mod perfect State of
the whole. This is the Thought fo much
infifted upon by Simplicius, that the uni-

* See Simplicius on Epiftetus, Cap. 34. And the Arch-
bifhop of Dublin, de Origins Mali, above all others on this


of the PASSIONS. 51

verfal Cauie mud produce -rt^m, as well as SecSt 2.
7* 7r?7, $ TV 3*7*. We know not if this ^-^v^
Giobe be a fit Place for the Habitation of
Natures fuperior to ours : If not, it muft
certainly be in the whole better that it fhould
have its imperfett Inhabitants, whofe State
is abfblutely Good, than that it fhould be

ALL then which we can expect to do
in this Matter, is only to Ihew, that " thefe
" confufed Seufations are neceffary tofuch
" Natures as we are in other reffeUs : Par-
" ticularly that Beings of fuch Degrees of
" 'Underftanding^ and fuch Avenues to
" Knowledge as we have, muft need thefe
" additional Forces, which we call Pa
" ilons, befide the firft Senjations by which
" Objects are conftituted Good or Evil,
" and the pure JJe/ire or Averfion arifing
" from Opinion or Apprehenfion of Good
" or Evil/'

Now our Reafon, or Knowledge of the From the
Relations of external Things to our Bodies, f^ c ' M
is fb inconfiderable, that it is generally under.
fome pleafant Senfation which teaches
what tends to their Prefervarion ; and fome
fainful Senfation which mews what is per-
nicious. Nor is this Inftrudion fufficient ;
we need alfo to be directed when our Bo-
dies want fupplies of Nourifhment ; to this
our Reafon could not extend : Here then
E 2 ap-

5 2 fhe Nature and Conduct

Seel:. 2. appears the firft Necefllty of uneajy Senfa*
tion, preceding Defire, and continuing to
accompany it when it is railed.

AGAIN, our Bodies could not be pre-
feryed without a Senfe of Pain, connected
with Inctfionsi Bruifes, or violent La-
bour, or whatever elfe tends to deftroy any
part of their Mechanifm ; fince our Know*
ledge does not extend fo far, as to judge
in time what would be pernicious to it :
And yet, without a great deal of human
Labour, and many Dangers, this Earth
could not fupport the tenth Part of its In-
habitants.^ Our Nature therefore required
a Senfation, accompanying its Defires of
the Means of Trefervation, capable to
lurmount the Uneafmefs of Labour : this
we have in the Pains or Uneafmefs accom-
panying the Defires of Food.

IN like manner, the Tropagation ofA-
nimals is a Myftery to their Reafon, but
eafy to their Inftinff. An Offspring of
fuch Creatures as Men are, could not be
preferved without perpetual Labour and
Care ; which we find could not be expected
from the more general Ties of Bene e uolence4
Here then again appears the Necefllty of
ftrengthning the STO?^ or natural Affec-
tion, with ftrong Senfarions, or Pains of
Defire, fufficient to counter-ballance the
Pains of Labour, and the Senfations of the

of the PASSIONS. 53

felfjb Appetites \ fince Parents mud often Sed. ^.
check and difappoint their own Appetites, v
to gratify thole of their Children.

*' WH E N a Neceflity of joining ftrong
" Senfations to one CJafs of Defires ap-
" pears, there muft appear a like Neceflity
" of ftrengthning the reft by like Senfa-
" tions,to keep ajuftBallance." Weknow,
for inftance, that the Pleafures of the Ima~
gination tend much to the Happinefs of
Mankind : the Defires of them therefore
muft have the like Senfations aflifting them,
to prevent our indulging a nafty iblitary
Luxury. The Happinels of human Life
cannot be promoted without Society and
mutual Aid, even beyond a Family ; our
fublick Affections muft therefore be ftrength*
ned as well as the private, to keep a Bal-
lance ; fb muft alfo our Defires of Virtue
and Honour. Anger, which fome have
thought an ufelefs PafTion, is really as ne-
ceffary as the reft ; fince Mens Intefefts
often feem to interfere with each other;
and they are thereby led from Self-Love to
do the worft Injuries to their Fellows*
There could not therefore be a wifer Con?
trivance to reftrain Injuries, than to make
every mortal fome way formidable to an
unjuft Invader, by fuch a violent Paffion.
We need not have recourfe to a 'Prome-
theus in this matter, with th.e old Poets :
E 3 they

54 ffle Nature and Conduct

Sett 2. they might have afcribed it to their O/*
v-^v^ timus Maximus.

Jnfani Leonis,
Vim Stomacho appofuiffe nojlro.

'A Balance VII. WITH this Eallance of publick Pa
^^^fions againft the private, with our TaJJions
' toward Honour and Virtue, we find that
human Nature may be as really amiable in
its low Sphere, as fuperior Natures endow-
ed with higher Reafbn, and influenced only
by pure f UeJires ; provided we vigorously
exercife the Powers we have in keeping
this Ballance of Affections, and checking
any Paflion which grows fo violent, as to
be inconfiftent with the publick Good. If
we have lelfifla Paflions for our own Pre-
fer vation, we have alfo publick fajjlons^
which may engage us into vigorous and la-
borious Services to Offspring^ Friends ,
Communities* Countries. Compajjiw will
engage us to fuccour the diftrefled, even
with our private Lofs or Danger. An Ab-
horrence of the injurious, and Love to-
ward the injured, with a Senfe of Virtue,
and Honour, can make us deipife Labour,
Expence, Wounds and Death.

THE Senfations of Joy or Sorrow,
upon the Succefs or Difappointment of any
Purfuit, either publick or private, have di-
rectly the EfTecl: of Rewards or Tunijk-

of the PASSIONS. 55

ments, to excite us to a6t with the utnioft Seel:. 2
Vigor, either for our own Advantage,
that of others, for the future, and to puniih
paft Negligence. The Moment of every
Event is thereby increafed : as much as
theSenfations of Sorrow add to our Mtfery*
fo much thofe of Joy add to our Happ't*
nefs. Nay, fince we have fbme confide-
rable Tower over our Defires, as ihall be
explained hereafter, we may probably, by
good Conduct, obtain more frequent 'Plea-
fares of Joy upon our Snccefs, than Tains
of Sorrow upon Difappointment.

'Tis true indeed, that there are
Tempers to be found, wherein thefe Sen-
fations of the feveral Paffions are in fuch
a Ballance, as in all cafes to leave the Mind
in a proper State, for confidering the Im-
portance of every Action or Event. The
Senfations of Anger in fbme Tempers are
violent above their proportion ; thofe of
Ambition, Avarice, dejire offenjual Tlea-
fure , and even of natural Affettion y in
feveral Difpofitions, poflefs the Mind too
much, and make it incapable of attending
to any thing elfe. Scarce any one Temper
is always conftant and uniform in its Paf-
fions. The beft State of human Nature
poflible might require a Diverfity of Pat
fions and Inclinations, for the different Oc-
cupations neceffary for the whole : But the
Difbrder feems to be much greater than is
E re-

5 6 fThe Nature and Con&uffi

Se<2. 2.fequifitefor this End. Cuftom, Education,
Habits, and Company ', may often contribute
much to this Diforder, however its Origi-
nal may be afcribed to fome more universal
Caufe But it is not fo great, but that hu-
man Life is (till a defirable State, having a
fuperiority of Goodnefs and Happinefs. Nor,
if we apply our felves to it, does it hinder
qs from difcerning that juft Ballance and
Oeconowy, which would conilitute the moft
happy Stare of each Perion, and promote
the greaceft Good in the whole.

LET Phyficians or Anatomifts explain
the feveral Motions in the-F/a/^r or Solids
of the Body, which accompany any Paffiora ;
or the Temperaments oi Body which either
make Men prone to any Paflion, or are
brought upon us by the long Continuance,
or frequent Returns of it. 'Tis only to
our Purpofe in general to obferve, that
' probably certain Motions in the Body
" do accompany every Paflion by a fixed
" Law of Nature; and alternately, that
" Temperament which is apt to receive or
" prolong thefe Motions in the Body, does
" influence our TaJJions to heighten or
** prolong them. " Thus a certain Tempe-
rament may be brought upon the Body,
by its being frequently put into Motion by
the PafTions of Anger, Joy, Love, or
Sorrow ; and the Continuance of this Tem-
perameni; fhall make Men prone to the fe


of the PASSIONS. 57

veral Paffions for the future. We find our Sect. 2
felves after a long Fit of Anger or Sorrow ,
in an uneafy State, even when we are not
refle&ing on the particular Occafion of our
Pafiion. During this State, every trifle
mall be apt to provoke or dejed: us. Oa
the contrary, after good Succefs^ after ftrong
friendly Tajjions^ or a State of Mirth, fome
confiderable Injuries or Lqffes, which at
other times would have affected us very
much, (hall be overlooked, or meekly re-
ceived, or at moft but flightly refented ; per-
haps becaufe our Bodies are not fit eafily
to receive thefe Motions which are confti^
tuted the Occafion of the uneafy Senfa-
tions of Anger. This 'Diverfoy of Tem-
per every one has felt, who reflects on him-
felf at different Times. In fome Tempers
it will appear like Madnefs. Whether the
only Seat of thefe Habits, or the Occafion
rather of thefe 'Difyofitionsbz in the'Body ;
or whether the Soul itfelf does not, by fre-
quent Returns of any Pafiion, acquire fome
greater Difpofition to receive and retain it
again, let thofe determine, who fufficiently
underftand the Nature of either the one or
the other.


5 8 Fhe Nature and Conduct


TOO V;/ SCft *

^Particular fDii)i/ions of the Affec-
tions and Pa/lions.

I. ^ 1 ^ H E Nature of any Language has
_ considerable Influence upon Mens
Reaionings on all Subjects, making them
often take all thole Ideas which are denoted
by the fame Word to be the fame ; and on
the other hand, to look upon different
Words as denoting different Ideas. We
ihall find that this Identity of Names has
occafioned much confufion in Treatifes of
the Paffions ; while fome have made larger,
and fome fmaller Collections of Names,
and have given the Explications of them as
an Account of the Paffions.

- CICERO, in the Fourth Book of Tuf-

f ton . f the culan Queftions, gives from the Stoicks,

Steieks. . . ^> J . _^. .5 r \ rn rr

this general Divifion of the Pajjions :
Firft, into Love and Hatred, according as
the Objecl: is good or evil ; and then fubdi-
vides each, according as the Objecl: is pre-
fent or expefted. About Good we have
thefe two, Libido & L*titia, "Defire and
Joy: About Evil we have likewife two,
Metus & jEgritudo, Fear and Sorrow,
To this general Divifion he fubjoins many


of the PASSIONS. 59

SubdMfionsvi each of thefe four Paffions ; Se&. 3.
according as in the Latin Tongue they had
different Names for the feverai "Decrees of
thefe t'aflioiis, or for the fame Paflion em-
ployed upon different Objeds. A Writer
of Lexicons would probably get the moft
precife Meanings of the Latin Names in
that Book ; nor would it be ufelefs in con-
fidering the Nature of them.

THE Schoolmen, as their Fund of Lan-
guage was much fmaller, have not fo full
Enumerations of them, going no further
than their admired Ariftotle.

II. 'T i s flrange that the thoughtful M A-
LEBRANCHE did not confider, that " *De-
" fire and Averfion are obvioufly different
" from the other Modifications called f Paf-
" fans ; that thefe two directly lead to
" Action, or the Volition of Motion,
" and are wholly diftinc^ from all fort ojf
44 Senfation.'' Whereas Joy and Sorrow
are only a fort of Senfations ; and other
Aflecliions differ from Senfations only, by
including Defire or Averfion, or their cor-
refpondent Propenfities : So that 'Defire
and Averfion are the only pure Affe&ions
in the ftri#eft Senfe.

IF, indeed, we confine the Word
tton to the " immediate Perceptions n
*' Pleafure and Pain, upon rhe very Pre-//.

** fence

fhe Nature anH Conduct

fence or Operation of any Objed or E-
vent, which are occafioned by fome
" Impreflion on our Bodies;" then we
may denote by the Word Affettion, thofe
Tkafures or Tains not thus excited, but
" refalting from fbme Reflection upon, or
" Opinion of our PofTeffion of any Ad-
" vantage, or from a certain Profped of
4 * future pleafant Senfations on the one
" hand, or from a like Reflection or Trof
'* feft of evil or painful Senfations on the
" other, either to our felves or others.'*

WHEN more violent confufed Senfa-
tions arife with the Affettion* and are at-
tended with, or prolonged by bodily Mo-
tions, we call the whole by the Name of
cpaffion, efpecially when accompanied with
fbme natural Trofenjities \ to be hereafter

I F this nfe of thefe Words be allowed,
the Divifion ofMALEBRANCHEis very
natural. Good Objects excite Love ; evil
Objects Hatred : each of thefe is fubdivi-
ded, as the Object \prefent and certain*
or doubtfully expetted^ or certainly re-
moved. To thefe three Circumftances cor-
refpond three Modifications of the original
Artedions; viz. Joy, <DeJire and Sorrow.
Good prefent, raifes Joy of Love, or Love
of Joy: Good in fufpenfe, the Love of
*Defire \ Good loft, Love of Sorrow. Evil


tftb* PASSIONS. 61

prefent, raifes Aver fan of Sorrow ; Evil Sed. 3,
expected, Aver fan or Hatred of *DeJire ; ^
and Evil removed, Aver/ton of Joy. The
Joy of Love, and the Joy of Hatred, will
poflibly be found nearly the fame fort of
Senfations, tho upon different Occafions ;
the fame may be faid of the Sorrow of
Love, and the Sorrow of Aver fan : and
thus this Divifion will amount to the fame
with that of the Stoicks.

PERHAPS it may be moreeafy to con
ceive our Affections and Paflions in
manner. The Apprehenfion of Good ,
either to our felves or others, as attainable,
raifes c Defire : The like Apprehenfion of
Evil, or of the Lofs of Good, raifes A-
verfan, or Defire of removing or prevent*
ing it. Thefe two are the proper Affec-
tions -, diftind from all Sen fat ion : We may
call both ^Dejires if we pleafe. The Re-
flection upon the Preience or certain Futu- s ' rmt >
rity of any Good, raifes the Senfation of
Joy, which is diftind: from thofe immedi-
ate Senfations which arife from the Objedt
itfelf. A like Senfation is raifed, when we
refled: upon the Removal or Prevention of
Evil which once threarned our feives or
others. The Reflection upon the Prefence
of Evil, or the certain Profped: of it, or
of the Lofs of Good, is the Occafion of
the Seniation of Sorrow , diftind: from


Nature and Conduff

Sect. 3 . thofe immediate Senfattons arifing from the
Objects or Events themfelves.

Affections THESE Affections, *viz>. ^Defae^ A-

y Joy and Sorrow , we may, after
from? If. MALEBRANCHE, cdlfpiritual or fur -e
fans. Affefltons ; becaufe the pureft Spirit, were
it fubject to any Evil, might be capable of
them. But befide thefe Affections, which
feem to arife neceffarily from a rational
Apprehenfion of Good or Evil, there are
in our Nature violent confufed Senfations^
connected with bodily Motions^ from which
our Affections are denominated Taffions.

w E may further oblerve fomething in
our Nature, determining us very frequently
to Action, diftindt both from Sen fat ion
anc j <> e fi re . if by Defire we mean a diftind:
Inclination to fomething apprehended as
Good either publick or private, or as the
Means of avoiding Evil ^ viz. a certain Tro*
fenfity of Inftintt to Objects and Actions,
without any Conception of them as Good,
or as the Means of preventing Evil. Thefe
Objects or Actions are generally, tho not
always, in effect the Means of fome Good ;
but we are determined to them even without
this Conception of them. Thus, as we
obferved above *, the ^Profenfity to Fame

* Sett, i. near the End.


of the PASSIONS. <{j

may continue after one has loft all notion Sedt
of Good^ either publick or private, which
could be the Objedt of a diftinCt Defire.
Our particular Ajfettions have generally ,
fome of thefe fropenjities accompanying
them ; but thefe Propenfities are lometimes
without the Affections or diftincl: Defires,
and have a ftronger Influence upon the Ge-
nerality of Men, than the Affections could
have alone. Thus in Anger, befide the
Intention of removing theuneafy Senfation
from the Injury received ; befide the De-
fire of obtaining a Reparation of it, and
Security for the future, which are fome
fort of Goods intended by Men when they
are calm, as well as during the Paflion,
there is in the paflionate Perfbn a Propenfi-
ty to occafion Mtfery'to the Offender, a
Determination to Violence ', even where
there is no Intention of any Good to be
obtained, or Evil avoided by this Violence.
And 'tis principally this Propenfity which
we denote by the Name Anger ', tho other Anger
Defires often accompany it/

S o alfo our Tre fence with the diftreffed
is generally neceffary to their relief; and
yet when we have no Hopes nor Intention
of relieving them, we mall find a Tropen-
fity to run to iuch Spectacles of Pity v Thus
alfo, befide the calm 'Defire of the Happi-
nefs of a Perfon beloved, we have a ftrong
Propenfity to their Company, to the very
2 Sight

he Nature and

Se6t 3- Sight of them, without any Confideratiori
of it as a Happmefs either to our felves
or to the Perfon beloved. The fudden Ap-
pearance of great Danger, determines us
to fliriek out or fly , before we can
have any diflihcl: Defires, or any Confide-
ration that a Shriek or Flight are proper
means of Relief. Thefe Trofenjlties, a-
long with the Senfations above-mention ed^
When they occur without rational Defire,
we may call Taj/ions, and when they hap-
pen along with Defires, denominate them
fajjlonate. This part of our Conftitution
is as intelligible as many others univerfally
obferved and acknowledged ; fuch as thefe,
that Danger of falling makes us ftretch out
our Arms ; noife makes us wink ; that a
Child is determined to fuck ; many other
Animals to rife up and walk ; fome to run
into Water, before they can have any No-
tion of Good to be obtained, or Evil
avoided by thefe means.

and I T may perhaps be convenient to con-
fj ne ove an( j n a t re d to our Sentiments
toward Moral Agents ; Love denoting
*Defire of the Happinefs of another,

fenerally attended with fome Appro-
ztion of him as innocent at leaft, or
being of a mixed Character, where Good
is generally prevalent- : " And Hatred
denoting Difapprobation by our Senje,
with the Ablence of Defire of their
4 " Hap*

of the PASSIONS. 6

" Happinefs." Benevolence may denote Sedt.
only " the Defire of another's Happinefs ;
and Malice, " the Defire of theirfMifery,"
abflra&ly from any Approbation or Con-
demnation by our Moral Senfe. This fort
of Malice is never found in our Nature,
when we are not tranfported with Paflion.
The Propenfities of Anger and Envy have ^^
fbme Refemblance of it ; yet Envy is not
an ultimate Defire of another's Mifery, but
only a fiibordinate Defire of it, as the
Means of advancing our felves, or fbme
Perfon more beloved than the Perfon en-

FEAR, as far as it is an Affettion,
not an undefigning Propenfity, is " a Mix-
" ture of Sorrow and A^r/&#,'When we
" apprehend the Probability of Evil, or
" the Lofs of Good befalling our felves, or
" thofe we love : n There is more or lefs
of Sorrow, according to the apprehended
Degrees of Probability. Hope, if it be
any way an AfTedtion, and not an Opinion,
is " a Mixture of 'Dejire and Joy, upon
" the probability of obtaining Good, and
" avoiding Evil." Both thefe Paflions may
have fome Trofenfities and Senfations at-
tending them, diftind: from thofe of the
other Affections.

THE confufed Ufe of the Names,
Hatred, Joy, Sorrow, 'Delight, has made Names.
F fome

66 fhe Nature and Conduct

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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 4 of 18)