The ontology of character traits in Hume

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (S1):82-97 (2012)
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This paper argues that Hume can account for character traits as lasting mental qualities without violating his reductionist account of the mind as a changing bundle of ideas and impressions. It argues that a trait is a disposition to act according to certain passions or motivations, explained entirely with reference to the ideas and impressions constituting one's current self. This account is consistent with Hume's view of the mind, and relies solely on his accounts of the association of impressions and ideas, and of the relationship between belief and passion, to establish relations that can properly be called lasting mental qualities.



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Erin Frykholm
University of Kansas

Citations of this work

Active Powers of the Human Mind.Ruth Boeker - forthcoming - In Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, vol. 2. Oxford:

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References found in this work

Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior.John M. Doris - 2002 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
A progress of sentiments: reflections on Hume's Treatise.Annette Baier - 1991 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The nonexistence of character traits.Gilbert Harman - 2000 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (2):223–226.
A Progress of Sentiments: Reflections on Hume’s Treatise.Annette Baier - 1991 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Hume's morality: feeling and fabrication.Rachel Cohon - 2008 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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