Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
In his Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume offers an elaborate account of the origins of property and suggests modesty has a similar origin. In this paper, I draw on Hume’s discussions of modesty and property to extract his account of the origin of modesty. Modesty and property are ultimately regulated by pride and selfishness according to Hume. I argue that these choices of passions, as the grounds of their related virtues, express an intentionally irreligious and anti-Christian approach. Furthermore, I argue that reading Hume in the context of irreligion not only helps understand his own theory, but also explains his different relationships to Shaftesbury and Hutcheson. I conclude that readers of Hume must consider his irreligious motives alongside his skeptical and naturalistic methods if they are to understand him in a historically accurate way, and make sense of how he approaches his project in the Treatise.
Elalouf, Samuel, "Vicious Virtues: The Role of Naturalism and Irreligion in Hume's Treatise." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2017.