A System of Moral Philosophy, in three books. Published from the original manuscript, by his son Francis Hutcheson. To which is prefixed some account of the life, writings, and character of the author, by the Reverend William Leecham.

Published: Glasgow Printed and sold by R. & A. Foulis [and] London, sold by A. Millar:

Date: 1755

first edition 4to. 2 vols. [6], [6 (subscribers list)], xlviii, 358; [4], 380pp., contemporary sprinkled calf, spines panelled by raised bands highlighted by double gilt fillets, each spine with four panels with a large gilt star tool at their centres and one panel direct numbered gilt, the sixth panel with a russet morocco title label gilt, no free endpapers in vol.1, some leaves with light damp spotting to lower margin scattered throughout vol.1, but overall a very nice fresh and tight copy in its original state.

ESTC t99472 Hutcheson (1694-1746), from Co. Down in Ireland, published his first philosophical works while living in Dublin in the 1720s and was in 1727 appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. In this position he exercised a powerful influence on the intellectual revolution then gathering momentum in Scotland. Dugald Stewart affirmed that his lectures "have contributed very powerfully to diffuse, in Scotland, that taste for analytical discussion, and that spirit of liberal enquiry, to which the world is indebted for some of the most valuable productions of the eighteenth century". In particular he strongly influenced both Hume and Adam Smith, and he was furthermore responsible for introducing these two giants to each other. Hutcheson "was one of the earliest propounders of what is known as the utilitiarian doctrine of ethics; and his teaching in this matter may be regarded as the foundation of the corresponding theory of economics, whose supporters included Smith, Bentham and Mill .... Bentham's often quoted ideal 'the greatest happiness of the greatest number' is to be found in Hutcheson. In his principal work A System of Moral Philosophy there are many passages which foreshadow the theories subsequently developed by his great successor in the Wealth of Nations" [Palgrave].


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