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Self-interest and Sociability

In James A. Harris (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century. Oxford University Press. pp. 291-314 (2013)

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  1. Francis Hutcheson and John Clarke: Self-Interest, Desire, and Divine Impassibility.John J. Tilley - 2017 - International Philosophical Quarterly 57 (3):315-330.
    In this article I address a puzzle about one of Francis Hutcheson’s objections to psychological egoism. The puzzle concerns his premise that God receives no benefit from rewarding the virtuous. Why, in the early editions of his Inquiry Concerning Virtue, does Hutcheson leave this premise undefended? And why, in the later editions, does he continue to do so, knowing that in 1726 John Clarke of Hull had subjected the premise to plausible criticism, geared to the very audience for whom Hutcheson’s (...)
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  • Hutcheson's Theological Objection to Egoism.John J. Tilley - 2016 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1):101-123.
    Francis Hutcheson's objections to psychological egoism usually appeal to experience or introspection. However, at least one of them is theological: It includes premises of a religious kind, such as that God rewards the virtuous. This objection invites interpretive and philosophical questions, some of which may seem to highlight errors or shortcomings on Hutcheson's part. Also, to answer the questions is to point out important features of Hutcheson's objection and its intellectual context. And nowhere in the scholarship on Hutcheson do we (...)
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  • Francis Hutcheson and John Clarke on Desire and Self-Interest.John J. Tilley - 2019 - The European Legacy 24 (1): 1-24.
    Among the most animating debates in eighteenth-century British ethics was the debate over psychological egoism, the view that our most basic desires are self-interested. An important episode in that debate, less well known than it should be, was the exchange between Francis Hutcheson and John Clarke of Hull. In the early editions of his Inquiry into Virtue, Hutcheson argued ingeniously against psychological egoism; in his Foundation of Morality, Clarke argued ingeniously against Hutcheson’s arguments. Later, Hutcheson attempted new arguments against psychological (...)
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  • What Can an Egoist Say Against an Egoist? On Archibald Campbell's Criticisms of Bernard Mandeville.Christian Maurer - 2014 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 12 (1):1-18.
    Like Bernard Mandeville, Archibald Campbell develops a profoundly egoistic conception of human psychology. However, Campbell attacks numerous points in Mandeville’s moral philosophy, in particular Mandeville’s treatment of self-love, the desire for esteem, and human nature in general as corrupt. He also criticises Mandeville’s corresponding insistence on self-denial and his rigorist conception of luxury. Campbell himself is subsequently attacked by Scottish orthodox Calvinists - not for his egoism, but for his optimism regarding postlapsarian human nature and self-love. This episode demonstrates that (...)
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  • John Gay and the Birth of Utilitarianism.Getty L. Lustila - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (1):86-106.
    This article concerns John Gay’s 1731 essay ‘Preliminary Dissertation Concerning the Fundamental Principle of Virtue or Morality’. Gay undertakes two tasks here, the first of which is to supply a criterion of virtue. I argue that he is the first modern philosopher to claim that universal happiness is the aim of moral action. In other words: Gay is the first utilitarian. His second task is to explain the source of moral motivation. He draws upon the principles of association to argue (...)
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