An examination of “Moral Distinctions Not Derived from Reason”, an excerpt from “A Treatise of Human Nature” by David Hume, and a comparison of moral theories between Hume and J.L. Mackie.
According to Hume, morality is not a judgment about matters of fact. This paper analyzes Hume’s philosophy and explains his basic arguments against the idea that moral pronouncements are judgments of reason. In addition, this papers analyzes the differences between Hume’s philosophy and that of J.L. Mackie, who argued that there are no moral truths. Lastly, the paper identifies the manner in which one can agree with Hume, while not being a moral skeptic.
“I do believe that it is entirely possible for an individual to subscribe to Hume’s beliefs, without being a moral skeptic. While Hume, like all moral skeptics, denies the existence of objective moral values, he does not dismiss the concept of universal human sentiment. Often the notion of skepticism is little more than an abusive label, and at other times it is taken to mean only that one denies knowledge of some fact which most people accept. To say that Hume is a moral skeptic in either of these senses would, of course, be unpersuasive because similar charges could be brought against almost any moral theory.”