On a standard reading of David Hume, we know two things about his analogy of morals to secondary qualities: first, it responds to the moral rationalism of Clarke and Wollaston; second, it broadcasts Hume’s realism or antirealism in ethics. I complicate that common narrative with a new intellectual contextualization of the analogy, the surprising outcome of which is that Hume’s analogy is neither realist nor antirealist in spirit, but quietist. My argument has three parts. First, I reconstruct Hume’s argument against (...) rationalist moral ontology in Treatise 3.1.1, revealing his attention to the Intellectualism/Voluntarism debate in rationalism. Second, I present evidence of Hume’s familiarity with the debate between Intellectualist moral realists and Voluntarist moral antirealists, notably Pufendorf. Third, I establish that Hume’s analogy undermines a key assumption structuring that debate, and that the analogy consequently signals his quietist abstention from his rationalist contemporaries’ realism/antirealism debate in ethics. (shrink)
In this paper, I investigate David Hume’s theory of well-being or prudential value. That Hume was some sort of hedonist is typically taken for granted in discussions of his value theory, but I argue that Hume was a hedonist of pathbreaking sophistication. His hedonism intriguingly blends traditional hedonism with a form of perfectionism yielding a version of qualitative hedonism that not only solves puzzles surrounding Hume’s moral theory, but is interesting and important in its own right.
The title of my book, Projection and Realism in Hume's Philosophy, might mislead. One might protest, with some justification, that since neither "projection" nor "realism" is Hume's term and that both carry a severe threat of anachronism, discussing them in connection with Hume is misguided. Why might the readers of this journal wish to read such a work?Well, the first thing to note is that Hume's name has come to be associated with the metaphor of projection, understood as having some (...) kind of "non-realist" connotations, and, at the same time, he attracted readings that make him a "realist" of some sort or another in different areas.1 So, there seems to be some tension here.. (shrink)
In Part 3 of Projection and Realism, P. J. E. Kail offers an original and thought-provoking analysis of Hume's views on morality. Kail seeks to make sense of Hume's talk of projection and realism. Kail's stated aim is to help us understand Hume's own views, rather than some new Humean view. Part 3 is thus a contribution to the literature on Hume's meta-ethics. Kail's particular approach presents two challenges to the student of Hume's works. First, Kail gives us a set (...) of terms that are not Hume's; this includes a distinction between explanatory projection and feature projection; a distinction between two forms of realism, metaphysical hedonism and the identification of moral value with natural properties of. (shrink)
Peter Kail’s comprehensive, thoughtful, and challenging book focuses on Hume’s use of projectionFthe appeal to mental phenomena to explain manifest features of the worldFin his treatments of external objects, causation, and morality. Almost all interpreters of Hume acknowledge a role for projection, but Kail is the first to unpack the metaphor, and to show the different ways in which projection works in different domains.
Hume talks of our ‚Äògilding and staining‚Äô natural objects, and of the mind's propensity to ‚Äòspread itself‚Äô on the world. This has led commentators to use the metaphor of ‚Äòprojection‚Äô in connection with his philosophy. This book spells out its meaning, the role it plays in Hume's work, and examines how, if at all, what sounds ‚Äòprojective‚Äô in Hume can be reconciled with what sounds ‚Äòrealist‚Äô. In addition to offering some original readings of Hume's central ideas on God and the (...) Self among other things, this book offers a detailed examination of the notion of projection and the problems it faces. (shrink)
Religion and the external world -- Projection, religion, and the external world -- The senses, reason and the imagination -- Realism, meaning and justification : the external world and religious belief -- Modality, projection and realism -- 'Our profound ignorance' : causal realism, and the failure to detect necessity -- Spreading the mind : projection, necessity and realism -- Into the labyrinth : persons, modality, and Hume's undoing -- Value, projection, and realism -- Gilding : projection, value and secondary qualities (...) -- The gold : good, evil, belief and desire -- The golden : relational values, realism and a moral sense. (shrink)
I suggest that Kantian ethics, that is, the ethics of the mature Kant, that of Thomas Nagel, Karl-Otto Apel and Onora O'Neill, is not the caricature of an "engineering" approach in normative ethics that Lecaldano wants to fight in his war on deontological ethics. The ethics of Kant and the Neokantians can be for a consequentialist ethic a more fearsome and interesting adversary than such targets as "common-sense morality", non-existent "dogmatic intuitionism" invented by Sidgwick, non-existent "Catholic morality" that Lecaldano tends (...) to choose as privileged adversaries as if there were no more serious opponents to criticize for those who had good arguments to criticize them. (shrink)
Natural law theory founds moral judgments on what, given the nature of human beings and ever-present circumstances, enables people to live together in thriving communities. The cognitive features of moral judgments--the claims of literal truth for these judgments about these matters and the readiness to have the judgments stand or fall with the evidence for those claims come front and centre with this characterization of natural law theory. Both what is good for human beings and what it is right and (...) wrong for them to do are matters of fact implied by what is required for their thriving; and so it is reasonable to hold that natural law theory is a variety of moral realism. So, if Hume is not a moral realist, he is not a natural law theorist. But I shall argue that Hume is not a moral realis; and this is what I shall undertake to do, in the course of establishing that he is a natural law theorist, indeed, a human nature natural law theorist. (shrink)
David Hume has been variously interpreted as an emotivist , a subjectivist , a projectivist , a realist , all of the above , and none of the above . In my dissertation I attempt to clear up this confusion. I argue that Hume is a moral realist who embraces a secondary-quality model for moral value. As such, he believes that there are true moral propositions, that their truth is to some extent independent of human beliefs, attitudes, and desires, and (...) that, nevertheless, moral qualities cannot be understood apart from their effect on human perceivers. I defend this account against both exegetical objections by Hume scholars and substantive objections by contemporary moral realists, quasi-realists, and anti-realists. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to establish that although Thomas Reid uses his version of value realism as a weapon with which to beat David Hume's value nominalism, at a deeper level of analysis the realism of the one and the nominalism of the other are fully compatible.
This paper identifies passmore's interpretation of hume as having skeptical principles so powerful that they should issue in a complete irrationalist which he did not embrace. The idea of such an inconsistency within hume's philosophy is then applied to his theory of morals. The way of ideas, Pessimistic rationalism, And the theory of association should issue in moral skepticism. Instead, Hume equivocates between subjectivist and realist views of the relation between morality and our pleasure or pain in contemplation of actions.