What is Hume’s distinction between natural and artificial virtue, and how defensible is it?

1920This essay is divided into two parts, the first of which is for the explication of Hume’s distinction between natural and artificial virtue, whereas the second is for the assessment of Hume’s distinction. I will elucidate, in the first part, Hume’s definition of ‘natural virtues’. I will then show that the argument he makes on the distinction between ‘artificial’ and ‘natural’ virtues, following which I will explicate Hume’s view on ‘natural virtue’ (which is psychological inclination) and contrast it with ‘artificial virtue’ (which is essentially socialogical), before turning to the second part, which is devoted to the assessment the aforesaid distinctions. I shall argue that the distinction that Hume made and his prove of ‘justice’ being an artificial virtue is not defensible, some artificial virtues are hugely asymmetric between men and women in terms of both benefits and compliance.

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Hume’s scepticism about practical reason

ac64ea67cb611ae3e62e566249a32c3bI shall endeavour to explain and assess Hume’s scepticism about practical reason by dividing this essay into three parts: in the first part, I will expound Hume’s view on reason and passion, based on which he argues that moral distinctions are not derived from reason, for it is merely the discernment of ‘truth and falsehood’ and is ‘utterly impotent in this particular’[1]. I shall argue, in the second part, that his account of passion and action is tautological, for his broad definition of ‘passion’ will allow him to attribute any actions, be it in accordance, or, in direct conflict, with immediate bodily inclinations, to ‘passion’, and thus renders his account of practical reason vulnerable to attacks.  

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‘But why isn’t mixing what I own with what I don’t own a way of losing what I own rather than a way of gaining what I don’t?’

robert-nozicks-quotes-5In Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Robert Nozick asks the following question with good reasons concerning Locke’s theory of appropriation:—

‘Why does mixing one’s labour with something make one the owner of it?… If I own a can of tomato juice and spill it in the sea so that its molecules…mingle evenly throughout the sea, do I thereby come to own the sea, or have I foolishly dissipated my tomato juice?’[1]

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What is the object of Nietzsche’s critique of Morality and is his critique convincing?

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I will, first of all, delineate what constitutes Nietzsche’s object of critique, i.e., whether it is morality as such, or a specific morality (good/evil morality). I will then explicate that his object of critique is ‘good/evil morality’, which is threefold: genealogical, ontological and teleological. I will argue that his analysis of moral genealogy is vulnerable to challenges from a non-western perspective and is unsuccessful in proving soundly the connection between the ‘internalisation of punishment’ and the emergence of ‘morality’.

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‘Free will is the unencumbered ability of an agent to do what she wants.’

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I will expound Hegel’s idea on free will by dividing this essay into three parts, the first of which will be dedicated to the exemplification of Hegel’s critique of the empiricists’ view on freedom. I will argue that free will, as according to Hegel, is not merely ‘the unencumbered ability of an agent to do what she wants’—a view that he dismisses as the ‘superficial’, or ‘delusional’ everyday notion of freedom[1]. I shall endeavour to show, contrasting with his account of Kant in the second, that Hegel considers free will as ‘rational self-determination’.

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What is wrong with exploitation?

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Introduction

I will first define Marx’s theory of exploitation (§1) and expound briefly that it emerges from capital mentality, viz., personification of capital and commoditisation of labour power (§2). I will argue that Marx’s remarks on exploitation is not value-laden and carries no moral connotation, i.e., he did not criticise exploitation for its injustice, as the moral principles on which such a judgement is based does not transcend the edifice of capitalism and therefore cannot be judged by a communist principle of justice but merely by ‘bourgeois morality’ (§3). Instead, I will argue, by exemplifying Marx’s view on the notion of freedom (§4), his criticism of exploitation hinges on it being an impediment to human’s freedom, i.e, an impediment to one’s self-objectification (hence self-realisation) and assertion of true individuality (§5,6,7).

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