Creativity over justice.

I’m nowhere near finished still, but at least feel like I’m back on better ground:

If my argument is correct, Hume’s theory of virtues implies that creativity is a virtue. This has some strange implications for Hume’s theory. I take it that whilst we do intuitively want to count creativity as a virtue, its status should not be central. Justice is a very important virtue. Creativity should count for much less than justice.

To justify this intuition within his theory of virtues, Hume must argue that justice is a disposition to act in a way that greatly increases general well-being, whilst creativity makes only minor contributions. Mill makes such a claim for justice when he writes that it is “a name for certain moral requirements, which, regarded collectively, stand higher in the scale of social utility, and are therefore of more paramount obligation, than any others”.

It seems implausible, however, to claim that the virtue of justice increases general well-being much more than the virtue of creativity does. If Bruce Springsteen stole from or murdered people he encountered, this would diminish general well-being. However, if he had chosen to never exercise his creative capabilities, he would have diminished general well-being a lot more. If this sounds implausible, note that over the past four decades, tens of millions of people have enjoyed his albums and live concerts. So Hume must say creativity is a greater virtue than justice.


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