In the rationalist tradition, the conflict within the breast of theperson between the requirements of morality and self-interest iscanonically a conflict between the person’s reason and herpassions. Shaftesbury’s identification of a moral sentiment inthe nature of humanity renders this a conflict within sensibilityitself, a conflict between different sentiments, between aself-interested sentiment and an unegoistic sentiment. Though bothShaftesbury and Hutcheson, no less than Clarke, oppose Hobbes’segoism, it is nonetheless true that the doctrine of moral sensibilitysoftens moral demands, so to speak. Doing what is morally right ormorally good is intrinsically bound up with a distinctive kind ofpleasure on their accounts. It is significant that both Shaftesburyand Hutcheson, the two founders of modern moral sense theory,articulate their ethical theory in conjunction with an aesthetictheory. Arguably the pleasure we feel in the apprehension of somethingbeautiful is disinterested pleasure. Our susceptibility toaesthetic pleasure can be taken to reveal that we apprehend andrespond to objective (or, anyway, universal) values, not only ornecessarily on the basis of reason, but through our naturalsensibility instead. Thus, aesthetics, as Shaftesbury and Hutchesonindependently develop an account of it, gives encouragement to theirdoctrines of moral sensibility. But an account of moral virtue, unlikeaesthetics, requires an account of moral motivation. As notedabove, both Shaftesbury and Hutcheson want to do justice to the ideathat proper moral motivation is not the pursuit of pleasure, evendisinterested pleasure, but rather an immediate response to theperception of moral value. The problem of giving a satisfying accountof moral motivation is a difficult one for empiricist moralphilosophers in the Enlightenment.
This is essentially the Duhem-Quine problem and it raises the closely related question;1(b) Can we decide on some rational and empirical grounds whether the arrow of modus tollens should point at a (possibly) refuted theory or at (possibly) refuted auxiliaries?2.
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That means getting away from the obsession with the formalism of the logical positivists and the logical empiricists which hogtied the mainstream of the philosophy of science since the 1930s when the positivists created the philosophy of science as a professionalised academic specialty.“This thesis can be summed up in a single, deeply held conviction: that, in science and philosophy alike, an exclusive preoccupation with logical systematicity (sic) has been destructive of both historical understanding and rational criticism.