Shaftesbury's Philosophy of Religion and Ethics: A Study in Enthusiasm

By Stanley Grean | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINE
HUMAN NATURE:
The SOCIAL AFFECTIONS

According to Sidgwick, "Shaftesbury is the first moralist who distinctly takes psychological experience as the basis of ethics." 1 It is true that Shaftesbury's philosophical psychology provides him with a model of human nature that is crucial to his ethical theory, though his interest in psychology is largely limited to its bearing on ethical and religious issues. Sidgwick regards the Characteristics as a turning point in English moral philosophy, shifting the center of ethical judgment away from revelation or discursive reason toward the realm of the affections. 2 But this is only partly true, for Shaftesbury is no antirationalist, and it is clear that both the Cambridge Platonists and the Latitudinarians prepared the way for him. 3 Though he drew heavily on the ancient Stoics, his emphasis on the affections-the emotional sources of judgment—makes it clear that he was not merely restating Stoic doctrine. Shaftesbury describes his task in the "Inquiry Concerning Virtue" thus: "Since it is therefore by affection merely that a creature is esteemed good or ill, natural or unnatural, our business will be to examine which are the good and natural, and which the

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Shaftesbury's Philosophy of Religion and Ethics: A Study in Enthusiasm
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents *
  • Part One - Part One 1
  • Chapter One - Philosophy: True and False 3
  • Chapter Two - Enthusiasm 19
  • Chapter Three - Knowledge and Intuition: Reason and Revelation 37
  • Chapter Four - Nature and God 50
  • Chapter Five - Optimism and Evil 73
  • Chapter Six - Freedom and Destiny 89
  • Chapter Seven - Christianity and the Church 98
  • Chapter Eight - Humor and Liberty 120
  • Part Two - Part Two 135
  • Chapter Nine - Human Nature: the Social Affections 137
  • Chapter Ten - Self and Society 164
  • Chapter Eleven - Religion and Morals 184
  • Chapter Twelve - The Nature of Virtue 199
  • Chapter Thirteen - Virtue and Happiness 229
  • Chapter Fourteen - Creative Form: Beauty 246
  • Chapter Fifteen - Concluding Remarks 258
  • Notes 265
  • Selected Bibliography 281
  • Index 289
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