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Hume on wood

[Originally published at the now defunct group blog explananda.com]


Posted on October 20, 2006
Tags: philosophy
From Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Chapter VI (Of Qualities Useful to Ourselves):
What derision and contempt, with both sexes, attend impotence; while the unhappy object is regarded as one deprived of so capital a pleasure in life, and at the same time, as disabled from communicating it to others. Barrenness in women, being also a species of inutility, is a reproach, but not in the same degree: Of which the reason is very obvious, according to the present theory.

That’s awfully raunchy by the standards of the 18th Century British moralists, isn’t it? At least, I don’t remember anything in, for example, Butler’s sermons on the importance being able to maintain an erection.

Comments


Author: Paul
Date: 2006-10-20

Oh, puh-leeze. You don’t think that Butler ever chuckled about his claim to extensive knowledge of “self-love”?



Author: Chris
Date: 2006-10-20

Paul, Bingo! (I had a private bet with myself that you would make a Butler/self-love joke before the end of the day.)



Author: Paul
Date: 2006-10-21

funny stuff.



Author: Chris
Date: 2006-10-21

Of course, making a joke about Butler on self-love is practically obligatory on a post like this. I was just predicting that you would do the right thing, Paul.



Author: Paul
Date: 2006-10-21

Yeah, I guess a joke involving John Gay or Lord Shaftesbury would have been more impressive.



Author: Chris
Date: 2006-10-21

I too looked wistfully in the direction of a Shaftesbury joke, but no play on the first five letters of his name could really disguise the fact that I’ve never read him.



Author: Tia
Date: 2006-10-22

I’ve never read Hume, Gay, Butler or Shaftesbury, but I would like to point out that the last four letters of Shaftesbury’s name have potential for this hypothetical joke, as do “Gay,” “John,” “Lord,” and “Butler.”



Author: Chris
Date: 2006-10-22

Tia, Indeed. I was especially mulling over the “bury” and thinking that might work - but how? how? - with “Shaft.” But in the end more jokes would have taken thought and effort, and Hume’s words are just so awesome on their own. I especially loved the “communicating it to others” bit for some reason.