Single Idea 6244

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / e. Altruism]

Full Idea

Human nature seems scarce capable of malicious disinterested hatred, or an ultimate desire of the misery of others, when we imagine them not pernicious to us, or opposite to our interests; ..that is only the effect of self-love, not disinterested malice.

Gist of Idea

Human nature seems incapable of universal malice, except what results from self-love


Francis Hutcheson (Treatise 2: Virtue or Moral Good [1725], žII.VII)

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.278

A Reaction

I suppose it is true that even the worst criminals brooding in prison don't wish the entire population of some foreign country to die in pain. Only a very freakish person would wish the human race were extinct. A very nice observation.