The Dennes Room

Philosophy 290-4

Spring 2022

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-4 Graduate Seminar: Sense and Sensibility: the British Moralists Bailey M 2-4 TBA

Readings will cover debates about the nature, sources, and authority of morality in early modern Britain (and, to some extent, beyond), with a focus on the sentimentalist tradition. Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume, and Smith will be our primary authors, but we will also read bits of Mandeville, Balguy, and Sophie De Grouchy. Will satisfy the history requirement, given the focus on Hume’s moral theory. Focal questions to include: How does the notion of moral sense evolve over the course of the 18th century? Is the idea of a moral sense or senses ultimately defensible? Do the British moralists successfully respond to the “morality critics” who preceded them? Is sentimentalism compatible with radical criticism of contemporary mores?