more from Francis Hutcheson

Single Idea 6239

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / c. Ethical intuitionism]

Full Idea

Let us consider if a traitor, who would sell his own country to us, may not often be as advantageous to us, as an hero who defends us: and yet we can love the treason, and hate the traitor.

Gist of Idea

We dislike a traitor, even if they give us great benefit


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

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.267

A Reaction

A nice example, which certainly refutes any claim that morality is entirely and directly self-interested. High-minded idealism, though, is not the only alternative explanation. We admire loyalty, but not loyalty to, say, Hitler.