Hume's Morality: Feeling and Fabrication

Philosophical Review 121 (1):131-137 (2012)
Hume's project, in Book 3 of the Treatise, of showing that virtue and vice are discerned by feeling, not reason, is notorious for its contradictions. Armies of Humean scholars have fought valiantly, ingeniously, but unsuccessfully, to resolve them, and in the first half of Hume's Morality, Cohon shows herself an admirably doughty follower in their footsteps. The second half concerns Hume's division between natural and artificial virtues. We learn how self-interest is redirected, and moral sentiment strengthened to provide artificial virtues with the motives they lack naturally, so as to enable them to facilitate impersonal co-operation, though a particular virtuous act may benefit no-one. The author explains why ..
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DOI 10.1215/00318108-1426391
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