Philosopher David Hume on political society Summary

SECTION IV: on Political Society


164-66. If everyone observed and persevered with justice and equity there would be no need for government or laws. They would be useless with everyone using his natural liberty for peace and harmony with others. But this is not the situation and governments must among themselves create Laws of Nations [International Law] for international justice with also the maintenance of laws protecting individuals. But if laws are not shown by experience to have influence, they are a waste of parchment. It is their usefulness that determines moral obligation.

167-71. Without the usefulness of fidelity, marriage agreements would not consider that virtue. Without its utility, its benefits to society, prying into private letters would not be blameworthy. Loyalty in friendships is required for the utility of trust. Even robbers have their need for regulations. Societies and clubs for various sports and games must have their varying rules. War, like sports of conflict -- wrestling and boxing -- must be regulated by fixed principles.

Philosopher David Hume on Political Society Summary

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