Giants of the Scottish Enlightenment Part One: Francis Hutcheson

Prof. James Stacey Taylor discusses the contributions of Francis Hutcheson, an intellectual of the Scottish Enlightenment who was instrumental in advancing the sentimentalist approach to morality. In this approach, Hutcheson acknowledged the conventional five senses, but in addition, identified three additional senses:

  1. The public sense
  2. The sense of honor
  3. The moral sense

Hutcheson had a tremendous influence on his contemporaries, including Adam Smith and David Hume, and is still important and influential today.

Watch part two featuring Adam Smith.


  1. Matt Wavle

    He’s know for his sentimentalist approach to morality, a genuine public sense and a sense of honor which explains will bring happiness after doing a good deed.
    I think that being just a little less dogmatic about it than both Hutcheson and Hobbes, the truth can be discovered in the common ground that they both share.
    While not all benevolence can be explained away as self-interest, the great majority of what people want to be seen as their benevolence is, in its showing, a self-absorbed, self-interested way of wanting to be seen as benevolent.
    Want to see your true motives?  Give anonymously, like they do in this video.   
    — and then DON’T post the video on YouTube, and don’t tell ANYONE about it.  
    If you understand what I’m saying, then you’ll understand that I can tell you if I’ve done anything like this, but I will encourage you that giving completely anonymously will challenge you towards an honest look at your motives.
  2. Anonymous

    I have to admit that I had not know about this philosophical perspective before this. Interesting.

Leave a Reply