Francis Steen 
Department of English, UC Santa Barbara
December 1997
Evolved Benevolence
Hutcheson and the Moral Engines of Community

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.

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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.
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© 1997 Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California, Los Angeles