Current courses

Every reader of Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (1738) and Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759/1790) will note that both authors anticipated many topics of current debates about the nature and origin of morality. We shall compare their respective views on matters of morality. Whereas the similarity of topics and even terminologies between these works by Hume and Smith is striking, their views are not quite as similar as they might first appear to be.

The course will focus on the history of enlightenment thought about moral questions. We shall compare the Scottish approach to moral theory (David Hume and Adam Smith – against the background as set by Hobbes) to the German approach as inspired by the tradition of rationalist thought (Immanuel Kant – against the background of rationalist thought such as that of Christian August Crusius).