The Nature and Functions of Sympathy in Hume's Philosophy

In Paul Russell (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of David Hume. Oxford University Press (2014)
My aim, in this chapter, is to outline the key details of this particularly interesting aspect of Hume's philosophical system. My presentation will be threefold. In the first section of the paper, I will elucidate the nature of sympathy, drawing upon some of the more recent ways in which Hume's commentators have attempted to resolve the interpretive puzzles Hume's works present. In the second section, I will explicate some of the functions sympathy has in Hume's philosophy, including not only three that have been particularly prominent in the secondary literature, but also two others that have received considerably less attention. In the final section, I will summarize Hume's account of the nature and functions of sympathy and briefly suggest some of the ways in which these aspects of Hume's moral psychology seem to be supported by contemporary psychological research.
Keywords Hume  sympathy  ethics  epistemology  aesthetics
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Reprint years 2015
DOI 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199742844.013.25
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