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He was careful to point out that they please irrespective of any advantage they may have to ourselves.He noticed that we may indeed perceive as virtuous an action that displeases us because it goes against our selfish interest, and we may desire that someone act in a certain way even though we should call it vicious.In 1746, while visiting Dublin, he contracted a fever and died.
In the one he offers a theory of an internal sense by which we perceive beauty, and in the other he offers a theory of a moral sense by which we perceive and approve virtue and perceive and condemn vice.
Hutcheson meant his theory of the moral sense to be a contribution to the contemporary discussion of how to analyze man's moral knowledge. Samuel Clarke and his followers held that moral distinctions are made by reason on the basis of our knowledge of the unchanging and unchangeable fitness of things.
Their debate, then, was over the character of the moral faculty.
Hutcheson plucked from Shaftesbury's rhapsodies the notion of a moral sense and endeavored to give a systematic account of it as the moral faculty of humankind.
The other side, owing its original allegiance to Shaftesbury, held that moral distinctions are the deliverances of a moral sense. First, moral knowledge must be accounted for by showing how it can be acquired by the exercise of some human faculty.
In this respect they were all Lockeans: If something is knowable, you must show how it can be perceived.In 1711 he entered the University of Glasgow, taking both the arts and theological courses and probably finishing in 1717.He was licensed as a probationer preacher by the Ulster Presbyterians in 1719.Second, moral knowledge cannot be simply a revelation from God, though of course God may enter the picture indirectly by having endowed us with our moral faculty.And when it came to picking out actual instances of virtue and vice, both sides were in agreement about the value of benevolence and the wrongness of acts of violence against other persons.David Hume sent a draft of Part III of The Treatise of Human Nature, "Of Morals," to Hutcheson for his comments prior to publication.Some indication of the spirit in which Hutcheson wrote his own work can be gathered from his rebuking Hume for a lack of warmth in the cause of virtue, which "all good men would relish, and could not displease among abstract enquiries." Hutcheson's contributions to philosophy lie in aesthetics and moral philosophy.It is both our perception of the virtue of an action and our approval of it.It so happens that those actions which we discern to be virtuous are always benevolent actions, and we are necessarily determined to discern their virtue as soon as we observe them.Francis Hutcheson, a moral-sense theorist, was born at Drumalig in County Down, Ulster.His father and grandfather were Presbyterian ministers.