Authors
Marcia Homiak
Occidental College
Abstract
I argue that Hume's ethics can be characterized as a virtue ethics, by which I mean a view according to which character has priority over action and the principles governing action: virtuous character guides and constrains practical deliberation. In a traditional utilitarian or Kantian ethics, character is subordinate to practical deliberation: virtue is needed only to motivate virtuous action. I begin by outlining this approach in Aristotle's ethics, then draw relevant parallels to Hume. I argue that virtuous character in Aristotle is understood in terms of "self-love." A true self-lover enjoys most the exercise of the characteristic human powers of judging, choosing, deciding and deliberating. A virtuous agent's self-love enables sizing up practical situations properly and exhibiting the virtue called for by the situation. But if an agent's character is defective, the practical situation will be misapprehended and responded to improperly. I argue that though Hume claims moral judgments are the product of sympathy, they are actually the result of a complex process of practical reflection and deliberation. Although Hume writes as though anyone can be a judicious spectator, there is reason to think that persons of calm temperament, who enjoy deliberation and have a facility for it, are more likely to perform the corrections in sentiments that may be necessary. If this is so, an agent's character has priority over his or her practical deliberations.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 9781634350518
DOI 10.5840/wcp20-paideia199811243
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,242
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Does Hume Have an Ethics of Virtue?Marcia L. Homiak - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 7:191-200.
Hume and Humeans on Practical Reason.Michelle Mason - 2005 - Hume Studies 31 (2):347-378.
Wisdom and Action Guidance in the Agent-Based Virtue Ethics of Aristotle.S. J. Thomas Sherman - 2006 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 80 (4):481-506.
Virtue and Happiness: The Humean Connection.Juan Santos - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 14:151-157.
Wisdom and Action Guidance in the Agent-Based Virtue Ethics of Aristotle.Thomas Sherman - 2006 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 80 (4):481-506.
What's Aristotelian About Neo‐Aristotelian Virtue Ethics?Sukaina Hirji - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):671-696.
Virtue Ethics and Situationist Personality Psychology.Maria Merritt - 2000 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 3 (4):365-383.
On Proper Action and Virtue: An Essay on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.Joseph Karuzis - 2015 - IAFOR Journal of Ethics, Religion and Philosophy 2 (1):19-29.
Aristotle on Virtue of Character and the Authority of Reason.Jozef Müller - 2019 - Phronesis: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy 64 (1):10-56.
Virtue, Practical Wisdom and Character in Teaching.Sandra Cooke & David Carr - 2014 - British Journal of Educational Studies 62 (2):91-110.
Virtue Ethics, Kantian Ethics, and Consequentialism.Jane Singleton - 2002 - Journal of Philosophical Research 27:537-551.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2020-05-08

Total views
2 ( #1,377,570 of 2,419,525 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #542,629 of 2,419,525 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes