David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Hume Studies 35 (1/2):29-55 (2009)
Hume claims that moral assessments refer to character; it is character of which we morally approve and disapprove. This essay explores what Hume means by “character.” Is it true that moral assessments refer to character, and should Hume think this given his other commitments in moral philosophy and moral psychology? I discuss two prominent themes—namely, Hume’s views on moral responsibility; and Hume’s comparison of moral feelings with feelings of love—to see what light these themes can shed on Hume’s broader views about moral assessment. I argue that at least according to a traditional understanding of the term, character could not plausibly have a role to play in Hume’s account of moral assessment, but that Hume’s moral theory could require a conception of character different from this traditional one: a conception according to which character need not be the standard one that holds character to be consistent, stable, and well-integrated. In morally assessing others, we do not do so on the basis of their characters (at least in any robust sense of character), but on the basis of their motivational states. My account of Hume’s theory of the responsibility, passions and the moral sentiments leaves intact the central Humean insights about the conditions for action and the arousal of the moral sentiment, suggesting what Hume could have said, both more plausibly and without undermining the key features of his moral psychology. And it also shows that Hume’s moral theory has no need for a robust conception of character
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Nancy Schauber (2009). Complexities of Character: Hume on Love and Responsibility. Hume Studies 35 (1):29-55.
Paul Russell (1995). Freedom and Moral Sentiment: Hume's Way of Naturalizing Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
James Fieser (1989). Is Hume a Moral Skeptic? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (1):89-105.
Marcia L. Homiak (2000). Does Hume Have an Ethics of Virtue? The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 7:191-200.
Rachel Cohon (1997). The Common Point of View in Hume's Ethics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (4):827-850.
Jonas Olson (2011). Projectivism and Error in Hume's Ethics. Hume Studies 37 (1):19-42.
Dan Haybron (2002). Moral Monsters and Saints. The Monist 85 (2):260-284.
Don Garrett (2007). Reasons to Act and Believe: Naturalism and Rational Justification in Hume's Philosophical Project. Philosophical Studies 132 (1):1 - 16.
Erik J. Wielenberg (2006). Saving Character. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (4):461 - 491.
Christian Miller (2013). Moral Character: An Empirical Theory. Oxford University Press.
Laurence Thomas (1989). Living Morally: A Psychology of Moral Character. Temple University Press.
David Carr (2003). Character and Moral Choice in the Cultivation of Virtue. Philosophy 78 (2):219-232.
Kenneth R. Westphal (2010). From 'Convention' to 'Ethical Life': Hume's Theory of Justice in Post-Kantian Perspective. Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (1):105-132.
Joel Kupperman (1991). Character. Oxford University Press.
Chrisoula Andreou (2007). Morality and Psychology. Philosophy Compass 2 (1):46–55.
Added to index2011-01-09
Total downloads7 ( #209,587 of 1,410,151 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #177,743 of 1,410,151 )
How can I increase my downloads?