Francis Hutcheson (philosopher)  

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"Many of our sensitive perceptions are pleasant and many painful immediately, and that without any knowledge of the cause of this pleasure or pain, or how the objects excite it, or are the occasions of it ; or without seeing to what farther advantage or detriment the use of such objects might tend : nor would the most accurate knowledge of these things vary either the pleasure or pain of the perception, however it might give a rational pleasure distinct from the sensible; or might raise a distinct joy, from a prospect of farther advantage in the object, or aversion, from an apprehension of evil."--An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725) by Francis Hutcheson

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The Rev. Francis Hutcheson (8 August 1694 – 8 August 1746) was an Irish philosopher born in Ulster to a family of Scottish Presbyterians who became known as founding fathers of the Scottish Enlightenment. He is best-known for his text An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue.


Hutcheson took ideas from John Locke, and he was an important influence on the works of several significant Enlightenment thinkers, including David Hume and Adam Smith.

While living in Dublin, Hutcheson published anonymously the four essays he is best known by: the Inquiry concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony and Design, the Inquiry concerning Moral Good and Evil, in 1725, the Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections and Illustrations upon the Moral Sense, in 1728. The alterations and additions made in the second edition of these Essays were published in a separate form in 1726. To the period of his Dublin residence are also to be referred the Thoughts on Laughter (1725) (a criticism of Thomas Hobbes) and the Observations on the Fable of the Bees, being in all six letters contributed to Hibernicus' Letters, a periodical that appeared in Dublin (1725–1727, 2nd ed. 1734). At the end of the same period occurred the controversy in the London Journal with Gilbert Burnet (probably the second son of The Rt. Rev. Dr Gilbert Burnet, Lord Bishop of Salisbury) on the "True Foundation of Virtue or Moral Goodness." All these letters were collected in one volume (Glasgow, 1772).

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