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    Hobbes' and Hume's conception of morality

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    In studying for my final essay exam, I am realizing there are a few things about some of the philosophers that I do not completely understand. One of the things I need to know about is how to compare and contrast the ethics of Hobbes and Hume. What are the basic psychological feelings (according to the two of them) that motivate human action for each man? How does each conceive of morality (right and wrong)?

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    According to Hobbes, there are two fold human motivation namely appetite and aversion. These words have the same meaning as love and hate. Men are attracted to what would help them survive and are repelled by things they judge to be a threat.

    What each individual loves is called good for him while what s/he hates is evil. So people identify goodness with their own appetites. Each person therefore struggles for what is good for him or her while seeing others as a threat to that good since they're also struggling for their own good. This is why the state of nature is, says Hobbes, "the war of all against all".

    Given the above, it would appear that there's no morality in the state of nature. But that is not so, says Hobbes. According to him, there is what is known as natural law, which is a precept or general rule that tells people what to do and what not to do. One of these precepts is that every one ought to "seek peace and follow it". Another is that one should be willing to give his right to all things in exchange for (guaranteed) liberty. ...

    Solution Summary

    This post examines how the ethics of Hobbes and Hume, although based on what they see as different universal human principles, do not arrive at the same conclusion. One is subjective and relative while the other is not. One is based on sentiment and sympathy while the other is based on reason. This post may help to make up your mind as to where you belong.