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Free «David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche» Essay Sample

This paper will compare the aspect of David Hume's and Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophies as it relate to naturalism broadly conceived. David Hume was born on twenty six April, seventeen eleven in Edinburg. He died in 1776 due to intestinal cancer. The Scottish philosopher is better known for skepticism and empiricism   and as a key philosopher in Western History.  Hume philosophy has presently earned scholarly interest gaining him a higher reputation as a great thinker who wrote his ideas in English. In the modern Era, Hume became the first philosopher to detail naturalistic philosophy. "His philosophy discarded historical perceptions in relation to human mind as a divine version. The doctrine depended on human reason and knowledge of the reality as approved by God. However, Hume's skepticism rejected this by application of empirical ,and explanatory principles to investigate human mental phenomenon'. His ideas were influenced greatly by  empiricists  George Berkeley and John Locke, Francophone writers Pierre Bayle and Anglophone intellectuals like Isaac Newton, Francis Hutcheman , Samuel Clarke, Joseph Butler and Adam Smith .

Friedrich Nietzsche' was a German philosopher born in fifteenth October 1844 and died in   twenty fifth August 1900. His philosophical approach was mainly on postmodernism and existentialism. The core of his philosophy evolves around life affirmation addressing doctrines. Nietzsche's works have been controversial regarding their significance and interpretation due to his provocative unique style. He is dismissed for him as speculative and inconsistent resulting to what can be described as fake philosophy. His criticism on Christianity is blasphemous and offensive which was against the traditional values in Europe as he states that "To have bound up this New Testament along with the old testament into one book, as the 'Bible' as 'The book in itself', is perhaps the greatest audacity and 'sin against the spirit' which literary Europe has upon its conscious". These aspects alienated his philosophical ideas from establishing academically in his time and also in the current times. However, his approach on morality and willpower has earned attention to scholars. He has his inspirations from ancient texts on Homeric Greek.

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Hume's Moral Theory

His positive aims are evident in his discussion of morality. He starts by pointing out the vices as well as virtues that result to universal principles to achieving an ethics foundation. Hume approaches moral theory experimentally by reasoning to make sensible explanations to think morally. Yet Hume's method of cataloguing, systemizing, and explaining the moral distinctions we draw seems to be a recipe for discovering only what we think is moral , not what its moral. As a result, many have thought that Hume's emphasis on observation, experience, and explanation, as opposed to justification, means that the results of his enquiry will be irrelevant to what ought to be and therefore, irrelevant to moral theory".

Hume recognizes there is a distinction between how things ought to be and how they are. Using two approaches, he explains what our thoughts are regarding people bas having a vice or virtue or they are unjust or just in their actions. In the second approach, he gives explanation as to why our thoughts are in those terms. This first approach identifies the moral thought and articulates the procedure for voice and virtue, injustice and justice. The second approach explains the reason for having those thoughts. They both are based on the contingent idea and a matter that is empirical in thinking morally.  Taking the two approaches successfully determines the state of things now and ho w they ought to be. For anything to count as a virtue based on the facts, an important sense of things ought to be is discovered since one discovers its nature. Hume is convinced that "moral distinctions are real and account for the difference between those who are entitled to the affection and regard of everyone and those who are not".

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According to Hume philosophy is sectioned into natural philosophy and science of human nature or moral philosophy which are peculiar and results to reformation, instruction and entertainment of mankind.  Moral philosophy investigates thoughts and actions of human. One way appreciates man mainly as one born for action, influenced by sentiment and taste. He disregards the philosophers whose thoughts are nuanced and advocates for precision which helps to craft philosophy and pursue one thing while he avoids another with regard to the value they possess ands their presentation. Hume differentiates ideas from impressions in that ideas mean imaginations and memories while impression is sensations. He points out that ideas are senseless vivacious as compared to, impressions. "By thee term impression, then, I mean all our more lively perceptions, when we hear, or see, or feel, or love, or hate, or desire, or will.  And impression are distinguished from ideas which are less lively perceptions, of which we arte conscious, when we reflect on any of those sensations or movements." Based on empiricism Hume points out that all ideas emanate from impressions. He is aware that ideas could result from sensations. He argues that the creative faculty utilizes not less than four mental operations which results to impressions. The operations include compounding which means adding an idea to another to make something. Transposing means substituting a part of an object with another while augmenting means to enlarge something or diminishing to belittle it.

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Morality, Reason & Motivation

Hume maintains the view of morality is unsustainable through his arguments. First he points out that morality is practical although it's unaccountable by using solely on reason. He argues that it is impossible to make a distinction between what is good or evil by reason since it influences our actions.  Therefore, it is not clear on what influences distinction regarding moral good or evil. Hume argues that reason contingently   impacts action but in an indirect way. In my opinion, it follows that correct then there is a contrast that occurs between distinctions due to reason and moral distinction. However, Hume argues that an individual may make a moral judgment yet, remain unmoved totally as he notes that "It is one anything to know virtue, and another to conform to it". An alternatives explanation may be that Hume might be implying that moral distinctions influences actions not necessarily as a result of making judgments regarding the distinctions but because distinctions dictates the way people are influenced and motivated to imply there is no connection between distinctions of motivation and reason. From Hume's view on morality, applying reason without passion would not engage humanity as it does importantly and manifestly.

Secondly, Hume assumes that the role of reason and that of the office is to realize the relationship existing among ides and reveal falseness and truths based on facts. Therefore reason is essential to condemn or approve the truthiness of falseness of something irrespective of moral evaluation objects such as characters, action and violations being neither false nor true. He acknowledges that someone may take an action, to be similar to a lie "But immorality of the action, surely does not rest with the falseness of that person's belief. After all, if it did, then closing the curtains would eliminate the immorality". Therefore, distinction between vice or virtue is not similar to distinction between false and truth. Whichever the case, when distinction is identified and a difference between vice and virtue is achieved, reason is no hindrance to reason facilitated by experience to discover distinction  and pronouncing  moral opinions as false or true. Moral distinction does not make a distinction between the false and the truth therefore, not only founded on reason and thus the meaning is not that claims regarding vice or virtue is not contrary to reason or not conformable.

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Hume argues that 'Whatever mental quality   in ourselves or others gives us satisfaction, by the survey of reflection, is of course virtuous; as every thing of the this nature that gives uneasiness is vicious". Therefore virtue is 'Whatever mental action or quality gives to a spectator the pleasing sentiment of approbation; and vice is contrary. This means our capacity to think of others pains and pleasures and feel it ourselves without self interest. Someone with useful traits help us judge with regard to manners and characters. Virtues leads to approbation while vices to disapprobation. Virtues are agreeable to individual or others while vices are not Therefore Hume points out that "Every quality of mind is denominated virtuous, which gives pleasure by the mere survey; as every quality, which produces pain, is called vicious. This pleasure and this pain may arise from four different sources. For we reap a pleasure from the view of character, which is naturally fitted to be useful to others, or to the person himself, or which is agreeable to others, or to the person himself". Why then do agreeable or useful traits result to pleasure and therefore approbation? This is because as human beings we are sympathetic and are moved by woes of fellow beings. Therefore, other's welfare helps distinguish between vice and virtues and the idea, of each would not exist just like lack of visual experience with colors leads to inability to distinguish blue from red and there would be no such idea.

Contemplating other's pains or pleasures as prompted by sympathy, there is a distinction of the moral feelings of pains and pleasures which are directly felt due to sympathy. The moral feelings are therefore indirect passions of either disapprobation or approbation depending distinctively on sympathetic pains or pleasures. Indirect passions drag attention to object qualities which produced the original pain or pleasure.  Direct pleasures emanate from the pleasure idea experienced by individual. Indirect pleasures associated with moral approbation are feelings that are pleasant regarding a person whose traits cause them or others pleasure. According to Hume, people approve others based on traits and their effects on others. Therefore, we can conclude that indirect passions account for identity such as psychological considerations which makes us approve people based on character as well as actions. However, Hume points out that not all that results to agreeable traits of approbation is a virtue and neither do virtues always lead to approbation. This is because sympathetic feelings could be informed wrongly or biased. Therefore, there exists a difference between being a virtue and appearing to be one and our feelings are not reliable to differentiate the two. Moral judgments are distinguished because specific traits results to approbation based on the circumstances and the distinction is learnt because human have capacity to have feelings that are relevant.

Specific virtues such as humanity, generosity, modesty, chastity, justice and fidelity to promises are principality addressed by Hume. He explores the conditions they emerge and their characteristic features that leads them to being agreeable or useful to earn approbation. He divides these virtues into artificial and natural virtues. He states that if any action be either virtuous or vicious, it is only a sign of some quality or character. It must depend upon durable principles of the mind, which extend over the whole conduct, and entre into the personal character. Actions themselves, not proceeding from any constant principle, have no influence on love or hatred, pride or humility; and consequently are never considered in morality. Thus durable mind principles are manifested in people s motives in taking an action. When an action is to be treated vicious or virtuous, motives behind the actions must be examined. Natural virtues are dependent upon people's motives which mare independent of the convections behind their actions. Artificial virtues are those dependent on convections in two ways. First, motives are acted upon when there are certain conventions. Second, availability of the motives and their approval as virtuous is dependent on conventions.

According to Hume, morality relates to utility in that utility leads to approbation and praise. It is associated with moral decision s regarding demerit or merit actions. It results to high regard associated with justice, honor, fidelity, chastity and allegiance. It cannot be separated from all virtues such as generosity, humanity, affability, charity, mercy, moderation and leniency. It is a foundation of key morals associated with mankind and other creatures. Hume focuses on durable traits such as virtues and motives. Hume is an extensive utilitarian who thrusts his efforts to the morality that encompass characters and motives of human. He holds that an individual is said to have virtues because his character trait contributes to utility. This is emphasized if much value is attached to utility being a measure to value interpersonal values resulting to analysis of the cost benefits. His utilitarian perspective is based on virtues and moral thoughts to solve problems which would otherwise be encountered. Hume thoughts are not based on their contribution or overall value to welfare. Instead he recognizes their work to highlight practical problems.


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