- Notes on Contributors
- Essences and Kinds
- From Causes to Laws
- Space and Time
- The Mechanical Philosophy
- Machines, Souls, and Vital Principles
- The Soul
- Qualities and Sensory Perception
- The Passions
- Language and Semiotics
- Form, Reason, and Method
- Instruments of Knowledge
- Picturability and Mathematical Ideals of Knowledge
- Virtue and Vice
- Egoism and Morality
- Realism and Relativism in Ethics
- The Free Will Problem
- The Equality of Men and Women
- Natural Law as Political Philosophy
- Sovereignty and Obedience
- Conceptions of God
- The Epistemology of Religious Belief
- Religious Toleration
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines changes in the conception of morality and egoism in early modern Europe. It explains that the postulate that human beings were fractious, covetous, and endowed with a strong drive towards self-aggrandizement was associated with Thomas Hobbes, and his writings produced a strong counterflow in the form of assertions and demonstrations of altruism and benevolence as natural endowments of human beings. It suggests that the modern ethical thought has defined itself by its concern with a specific ethical conception whose distinctness from eudaimonist prudential concerns is part of its very idea.
Stephen Darwall is Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. He has written widely on the foundations and history of ethics. His books include Impartial Reason, Philosophical Ethics, Welfare and Rational Care, and, most recently, The Second‐Person Standpoint. He is the editor, with Allan Gibbard and Peter Railton, of Moral Discourse and Practice, and has also edited a number of volumes on normative ethics. He is a founding co‐editor, with David Velleman, of The Philosophers' Imprint.
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