Social Resentment and Justice. Considerations on Hume’s Realist Approach to Passions
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to show that Hume gives the passion of resentment a crucial role in explaining the origin of justice and society, and that this can be regarded as an important argument in favour of the recent attempts to include Hume in the canon of political realism. In the first part of the article, I shall mention some general realist theses that are supported by Humean philosophy. As Andrew Sabl has recently reminded us, these include the idea that the human passions and their capacity to be civilized are a central factor in explaining the transition from tribal communities to political society. Following Sabl’s general approach, I shall show that Hume thought that resentment played a fundamental role in the passions involved in this process.
Keywords: Hume, political realism, passions, resentment, justice