Essay on Hume And John Stuart Mill

Essay on Hume And John Stuart Mill

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Hume & Mill
David Hume and John Stuart Mill are both philosophers that believe in a higher power (god(s)). They are primarily concerned with the thought process behind human action. Their main discussion points are on the moral values of humans, and the difference between what is moral and what is just, or any combination of the two.
Hume in “An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals” discusses his understanding of the principles of morals, benevolence, and justice. Hume states, “Disputes with men, pertinaciously obstinate in their principles, are, of all others, the most irksome; except, perhaps, those with persons, entirely disingenuous, who really do not believe the opinions they defend, but engage in the controversy, from affectation, from a spirit of opposition, or from a desire of showing wit and ingenuity, superior to the rest of mankind.”(Pg.1) Hume is setting the scene of how addressing ethics with other people who truly believe in their own opinions can be extremely troublesome. Those who do not believe in themselves are easily persuaded because their mindset is not in the direction in which they preach.
Hume also realizes that everyone likes to see benevolence, and people praise justice because it is useful. Hume says, “It may be esteemed, perhaps, a superfluous task to prove, that the benevolent or softer affections are estimable; and wherever they appear, engage the approbation and good-will of mankind.”(Section 1, Pg. 3) Benevolence is predictable because it comes naturally for people to want to help others. Hume also says “that justice is useful to society, and consequently that part of its merit, at least, must arise from that consideration, it would be a superfluous undertaking to prove.”(Section 3, Pg. 7) ...


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As one can see, Hume and Mill both have similar, but different views on the aspects of life. Mill believes that there is a distinction between what is just and moral, there is an instinct for what is just, and has a problem with strong personal reactions to justice. Hume believes those who do not truly believe in their morals are easily persuaded, benevolence is predictable, and admiration comes from that of helping other people. Just as these philosophers, we all know that everyone thinks differently, but we wonder why we all think differently, and the means in which our individual thoughts are derived.

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