Physical Objects and Moral Wrongness: Hume on the "Fallacy" in Wollaston's Moral Theory

Hume Studies 35 (1-2):87-101 (2009)
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Abstract
In a well-known footnote in Book 3 of his Treatise of Human Nature, Hume calls William Wollaston's moral theory a "whimsical system" and purports to destroy it with a few brief objections. The first of those objections, although fatally flawed, has hitherto gone unrefuted. To my knowledge, its chief error has escaped attention. In this paper I expose that error; I also show that it has relevance beyond the present subject. It can occur with regard to any moral theory which, like Wollaston's, locates the wrongness of an act in a property that can reside in non-actions no less than in actions.
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