CAN HYPOCRISY BE A VIRTUE? HUME ON THE MORALITY OF PRINCES

  • Alexandra Abranches Philosophy Department University of Minho and CEPS.

Abstract

This paper examines the moral status of hypocrisy in the moral and
political philosophy of David Hume. Its aim will be to try to determine whether,
according to Hume, hypocrisy has any positive moral value, or whether, not having
any, Hume should therefore be placed in the same category of political realists such
as Machiavelli, with his sharp distinction between moral and political values. If the
latter is the case, then hypocrisy can be described as an absolute moral vice. But if
the former is the case, that is, if hypocrisy has any moral value, then Hume does
not support the sharp separation between what is right from a political and from
a moral point of view, which means that there may even be, then, some relation
between hypocrisy and moral obligation. In other words, hypocrisy may very well
be virtuous.

Published
2019-05-03
Section
LYING AND HYPOCRISY IN POLITICS AND MORALITY, WITH RUTH GRANT