Hume and The Foundation of Morality

This paper discusses David Hume’s use of reason and sentiment as a means of discussing the origins of morality.

David Hume, in An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, delves into the foundations of morality. He divides the origins of morality into two possible sources, reason and sentiment. He defines reason as that facility or quality or action that can instruct us in the tendency of qualities and actions, and point out their beneficial consequences to society. He defines sentiment as the emotional disposition that guides reason. In example after example Hume makes it clear that reason should be regarded as a qualitative tool that helps us define our world. Without sentiment as the spur, reason would not be employed effectively .