Philosophia 45 (1):299-315 (2017)

Philip Reed
Canisius College
This paper attempts to give a complete and coherent account of how Hume’s moral psychology can explain the cultivation of moral character. I argue that the outcome of a fully formed moral character is an agent who strengthens her calm moral sentiments into settled principles of action. I then take up the question of how the process of strengthening moral sentiments might occur, rejecting the possibilities of sympathy, “reflection,” and “resolution” because either they are too weak or else they make the passion violent, preventing the essential calm nature of moral sentiments. I next argue that custom and the non-moral motives of pride and the love of fame play the critical roles in character formation. Custom can be considered as both the process of education, whereby certain impressions are habitually and formally inculcated into us by educators, and the process of experience in society and conversation, whereby we learn to associate pleasure with the virtues and pain with the vices. In both these processes, Hume implicitly appeals to certain non-moral motives, especially pride and the love of fame, in order to launch the effects of custom.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1007/s11406-016-9765-0
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: 53,617
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

Hume's Account of Moral Sentiment.John R. Boatright - 1976 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 30 (1/2=115/116):79-90.
The Moral Sentiments in Hume’s Treatise.Åsa Carlson - 2014 - Hume Studies 40 (1):73-94.
Does Hume Have an Ethics of Virtue?Marcia L. Homiak - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 7:191-200.
Narrative and History in Hume's Moral Epistemology.Erin Frykholm - 2016 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1):21-50.


Added to PP index

Total views
30 ( #330,529 of 2,348,760 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #330,190 of 2,348,760 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes