Single Idea 6234

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / A. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / h. Expressivism]

Full Idea

If a creature wanting reason has many good qualities and affections, it is certain that if you give this creature a reflecting faculty, it will at the same instant approve of gratitude, kindness and pity.

Gist of Idea

If an irrational creature with kind feelings was suddenly given reason, its reason would approve of kind feelings


3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (Inquiry Concerning Virtue or Merit [1699], I.III.III)

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.175

A Reaction

A wonderful denunciation of the authority of reason, which must have influenced David Hume. I think, though, that the inverse of this case must be considered (if suddenly given feelings, they would fall in line with reasoning). We reason about feelings.