David Hume
(1711 – 1776)

picture of David Hume
“the circumstance of utility, in all subjects … is constantly appealed to in all moral decisions concerning the merit and demerit of actions”.
David Hume
Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1748)

"The first circumstance which introduces evil, is that contrivance or economy of the animal creation, by which pains, as well as pleasures, are employed to excite all creatures to action, and make them vigilant in the great work of self-preservation. Now pleasure alone, in its various degrees, seems to human understanding sufficient for this purpose. All animals might be constantly in a state of enjoyment: but when urged by any of the necessities of nature, such as thirst, hunger, weariness; instead of pain, they might feel a diminution of pleasure, by which they might be prompted to seek that object which is necessary to their subsistence. Men pursue pleasure as eagerly as they avoid pain; at least they might have been so constituted. It seems, therefore, plainly possible to carry on the business of life without any pain. Why then is any animal ever rendered susceptible of such a sensation? If animals can be free from it an hour, they might enjoy a perpetual exemption from it [...]."
David Hume
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779)


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David Hume: resources