ADVANTAGES

Gay's influence on later writers, such as Hume, deservesnote. It is in Gay's essay that some of thequestions that concerned Hume on the nature of virtue areaddressed. For example, Gay was curious about how to explain ourpractice of approbation and disapprobation of action andcharacter. When we see an act that is vicious we disapprove ofit. Further, we associate certain things with their effects, sothat we form positive associations and negative associations that alsounderwrite our moral judgments. Of course, that we view happiness,including the happiness of others as a good, is due to God'sdesign. This is a feature crucial to the theological approach,which would clearly be rejected by Hume in favor of a naturalistic viewof human nature and a reliance on our sympathetic engagement withothers, an approach anticipated by Shaftesbury (below). Thetheological approach to utilitarianism would be developed later byWilliam Paley, for example, but the lack of any theoretical necessityin appealing to God would result in its diminishing appeal.

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