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By david mark Humes Argument on the Distinction Benevolence Self-love In his Enquiry Concerning the Principle of Morals Hume rebukes the arguments of skeptical philosophers who deny the existence of moral distinctions He doubts that an individual can be so indifferent that he or she is unable to distinguish between right and wrong Hume believes that the differences between men arise from nature from habit and from education Hume believes no skeptic no matter how doubtful can claim that there are absolutely no moral distinctions Also he accepts if we disregard these skeptics we find that they eventually give up their unconvincing claims and come over to the side of common sense and reason In this paper it will be shown that ultimately Hume maintains that benevolence is not the basis for self-love rather it focuses on the utility to please and the need for benevolence for its own sake The particular instances on which Hume first focuses are those relating to two social vir tues benevolence and justice It is obvious he says that our benevolent qualities are important To say of a person that he or she is sociable good-natured humane merciful grateful friendly generous is to express the highest merit which human nature is capable of attaining29 It is equally apparent he suggests that these qualities are esteemed because they proved for the happiness of mankind the order of society the harmony of families the mutual support of friendsover the breasts of men34 The usefulness of these forms of benevolence is an essential condition of the attention we give to them a inference that is understood once morals acts of a particular type cease to be useful they cease to be valued 30-32 In addition he shows that this set of morals which converts all human society into self-love Hume does not argue about benevolence or self-love which dominate human nature a dispute which as he justly observes is
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