more from Francis Hutcheson

Single Idea 6251

[catalogued under 25. Society / C. Social Justice / 4. Legal Rights / a. Basis of rights]

Full Idea

Perfect rights are necessary to the public good, and it makes those miserable whose rights are thus violated; …imperfect rights tend to the improvement and increase of good in a society, but are not necessary to prevent universal misery.

Gist of Idea

The loss of perfect rights causes misery, but the loss of imperfect rights reduces social good

Source

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

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.297


A Reaction

This is a very utilitarian streak in Hutcheson, converting natural law into its tangible outcome in actual happiness or misery. The distinction here is interesting (taken up by Mill), but there is a very blurred borderline.