Department of English, UC Santa Barbara
Hutcheson and the Moral Engines
Francis Steen looks at the debate between the materialists and the moralists
in the eighteenth century, focusing on the debate surrounding benevolence.
"The Author of Nature," Francis Hutcheson writes in 1725, "has much better
furnish’d us for a virtuous Conduct, than our Moralists seem to
imagine"; in particular, he has "given us strong Affections to be the springs
of each virtuous Action." Steen shows that this view receives significant
and perhaps surprising support from modern evolutionary psychology, in
a form which may illuminate the underlying issue—still highly relevant—of
the motivational springs of community.
Full text of the presentation
Francis Steen is a Doctoral Candidate
in the Department of English. His dissertation, Negotiating the Natural Mind,
returns to the "first cognitive revolution" of the eighteenth century to negotiate
the significance of opening up literary and cultural studies to the cognitive
sciences. An early version of one of the chapters has been published as "The
Time of Unremberable Being: Wordsworth's Autobiography of the Imagination"
in Autobiography Studies in the spring of 1998.
© 1997 Francis
F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California, Los Angeles