David Hume on the Reduction of Sentiments

Thomas Hobbes thought that human emotions could be explained in terms of their reflection of self-interest.  David Hume, writing much later, thought that it was absurd to portray genuinely benevolent sentiments as the result of some “abstruse” mental calculation.  Far from resulting from a bluntly contrasting view of human nature, Hume’s objection was rooted in deep methodological points with links to contemporaneous chemistry, physics, and botany, among other areas.  Read more at Ether Wave Propaganda.

About Will Thomas

Will Thomas is a junior research fellow at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at Imperial College London. He is originally from Minnesota, and received his PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University in 2007. From 2007 to 2010 he was a post-doctoral historian at the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics near Washington, DC. There he developed the Array of Contemporary American Physicists resource. His primary interests are in 20th-century America and Britain, and in the histories of physics and the sciences of policy analysis. He maintains the blog Ether Wave Propaganda, usually posting about the problems of maintaining a constructive historiography, and about argumentative systems in all eras.
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