Hume Studies 25 (1):266-269 (1999)

Donald Ainslie
University of Toronto, St. George
Generally speaking, there are two ways to oppose another philosopher's view. You can argue against it—for example, by finding counterexamples, showing that it entails various unpalatable or absurd conclusions, or by raising objections to the arguments offered in its support. Or you can offer an alternative account of the issue in question. These two sorts of responses are, of course, complementary, and Hume uses both in his attempt to reveal the errors of traditional approaches to ethics. While Hume's negative arguments against rationalist moral theories—including the related attacks on the role of reason in motivation and in our moral judgments —are justly famous, they have been criticized on a number of grounds. Hume has been charged with mischaracterizing the position of his rationalist opponents, with violating some of his own positions on the structure of reason and the passions, and with relying on ad hoc replies to objections he anticipates will be brought against his own arguments.
Keywords Hume
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DOI hume1999251/217
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