Narrative and History in Hume's Moral Epistemology

Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1):21-50 (2016)
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Abstract

Hume's moral epistemology, focusing on the elevation of character tratis, requires what in contemporary terms is a narrative structure. The moral significance of an action can only be understood when considered in relation to an agent's past actions, beliefs, intentions, social environment and situation. Three features of Hume's writings support this claim: his accounts of moral evidence, of the object of moral evaluation, and of the value of history. Without recognizing the role of narrative, the standard view of Hume's moral epistemology is incomplete. Recognizing this, Hume's History of England can be read as an exercise of moral evaluation

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Erin Frykholm
University of Kansas

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