more from Francis Hutcheson

Single Idea 6248

[catalogued under 20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / b. Intellectualism]

Full Idea

We boast of our mighty reason above other animals, but its processes are too slow, too full of doubt, to serve us in every exigency, either for our preservation, without external senses, or to influence our actions for good without the moral sense.

Gist of Idea

Reason is too slow and doubtful to guide all actions, which need external and moral senses


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

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.294

A Reaction

This idea was taken up by Hume, and it must have influence Hume's general scepticism about the importance of reason. What this idea misses is the enormous influence of prior reasoning on our quick decisions.