Francis Hutcheson, a Scottish philosopher, born in Ireland, Aug. 8, 1694, died in Glasgow in 1747. He studied theology at Glasgow, and became pastor of a Presbyterian congregation in Ulster. His "Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue" (1720) gave him distinction among philosophers. In 1728 he published a treatise on the "Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections," and in the following year was appointed professor of moral philosophy in the university of Glasgow. His Synopsis Metaphysicae Ontologiam et Pneumatologiam complectens, and his Philosophiae Moralis Institution were written as text books for his classes. His most complete and elaborate work, the "System of Moral Philosophy," appeared after his death (2 vols., Glasgow, 1755), with a biography by Dr. William Leechman. Truth he divides into logical, moral, and metaphysical. Logical truth is the agreement of a proposition with the object it relates to; moral truth is the harmony of the outward act with the inward sentiment; and metaphysical truth is that nature of a thing wherein it is known to God as that which actually it is, or in other words it is its absolute reality.

He maintained that besides the five external senses we possess also internal senses, one of which occasions the emotions of beauty and sublimity, and another gives rise to the moral feelings. He introduced the term moral sense, and maintained the existence of certain universal propositions, derived not from experience, but from the connate power of the mind (menti congenita intelligendi vis).