Hume on the epistemology and metaphysics of value

History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 20 (1):187-209 (2017)
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This essay examines the manner in which Hume challenges the cognitivist and realist intuitions informing our ordinary experience of value by identifying values with mind-dependent feelings and by separating facts from values. However, through a process of interpretive rehearsal of Hume’s arguments in the first two parts of the paper we find that they come under increasing internal strain, which points, contrary to his initial argument about the irreducibly phenomenal aspects of value experience, to the motivational role of reason and to the identification of values, not with mind-dependent feelings, but with dispositional properties of objects. The third and final part of the paper will offer a systematic reconstruction of his arguments with a view to suggesting one possible – descriptivist – alternative to Hume’s initial challenges, which can serve to satisfy the emerging cognitivist and realist needs of his arguments.



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Tsarina Doyle
National University of Ireland, Galway

Citations of this work

Le projectivisme humien et ses implications métaéthiques.Samuel Lépine - 2021 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 112 (4):525-544.

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References found in this work

Moral reasons.Jonathan Dancy - 1993 - Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell.
Wise Choices, Apt Feelings.Allan Gibbard - 1990 - Ethics 102 (2):342-356.
Upheavals of Thought.Martha Nussbaum - 2001 - Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (2):325-341.

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