Shaftesbury on selfishness and partisanship

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the Introduction to his Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume credits “my Lord Shaftesbury” as one of the “philosophers in England, who have begun to put the science of man on a new footing.” I describe aspects of Shaftesbury's philosophy that justify the credit Hume gives him. I focus on Shaftesbury's refutation of psychological egoism, his examination of partiality, and his views on how to promote impartial virtue. I also discuss Shaftesbury's political commitments, and raise questions about recent interpretations that have taken his Characteristicks to be a polemic, partisan text.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-79
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Philosophy and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Egoism
  • Partisanship
  • Shaftesbury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

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