By Christopher J. Berry
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In what then, for Hume, does justice consist? It comprises rules. 1). Before turning, in the next subsection, to the content of these rules, we need to heed Hume’s careful account of how these rules/agreements/conventions emerged. 10). These rules have two important characteristics and it is here where the link between Hume’s analysis of justice and commercial society is forged (see Section F). These rules are both general and inflexible. We can see here a clear connection between Hume’s epistemology and his political and moral philosophy.
It is the presence of this constancy that enables Hume to believe that “moral subjects” are amenable to causal explanation and it is this explanation that the “science of man” is primed to provide. 15). ” This comes out clearly in his treatment of “liberty and necessity” in both the Treatise and First Enquiry. The key is a commitment to the uniformity of human nature. The latter text supplies perhaps the clearest expression. He asserts that “it is universally acknowledged that there is a great uniformity among the actions of men, in all nations and ages, and that human nature remains still the same in its principles and operations” so that it now follows that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular.
2). To deal with this conjunction humans need society. 4). Clearly there is nothing uniquely human 40 David Hume in the possession of this “appetite” but, for Hume, in implicit contrast to the natural facts about sheep and other animals, the “circumstances of human nature,” in particular the selfishness in “our natural temper,” make its operation insufficient. This is compounded by the incommodiousness of “outward circumstances” with the consequence that human social/group life is naturally unstable.