One variety of love is familiar in everyday life and qualifies in every reasonable sense as a reactive attitude. ‘Reactive love’ is paradigmatically (a) an affectionate attachment to another person, (b) appropriately felt as a non-self-interested response to particular kinds of morally laudable features of character expressed by the loved one in interaction with the lover, and (c) paradigmatically manifested in certain kinds of acts of goodwill and characteristic affective, desiderative and other motivational responses (including other-regarding concern and a desire (...) to be with the beloved). ‘Virtues of intimacy’ as expressed in interaction with the lover are agent-relative reasons for reactive love, and like other reactive attitudes, reactive love generates reasons in its own right. Within a broad conception of the virtues, reactive love sheds light on the reactive attitudes more generally. (shrink)
More than two hundred years after its publication, David Hume's Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals is still widely regarded as either a footnote to the more philosophically interesting third book of the Treatise, or an abbreviated, more stylish, version of that earlier work. These standard interpretations are rather difficult to square with Hume's own assessment of the second Enquiry. Are we to think that Hume called the EPM “incomparably the best” of all his writings only because he preferred that (...) later style of exposition? Or worse, should we take his preference for the second Enquiry as a sign of aging literary vanity? Does Hume's stated preference for the EPM in no way speak to its philosophical content? (shrink)
Among contemporary ethicists, Hume is perhaps best known for his views about morality’s practical import and his spectator-centered account of moral evaluation. Yet according to the so-called “spectator complaint”, these two aspects of Hume’s moral theory cannot be reconciled with one another. I argue that the answer to the spectator complaint lies in Hume’s account of “goodness” and “greatness of mind”. Through a discussion of these two virtues, Hume makes clear the connection between his views about moral motivation and his (...) understanding of moral evaluation by providing us with two portraits of the Humean moral agent. (shrink)
Although the implications of Hume's distinction between philosophical anatomy and painting have been the subject of lively scholarly debates, it is a puzzling fact that the details of the distinction itself have largely been a matter of interpretive presumption rather than debate. This would be unproblematic if Hume's views about these two species of philosophy were obvious, or if there were a rich standard interpretation of the distinction that we had little reason to doubt. But a careful review of the (...) literature shows neither to be the case. We are far from scholarly consensus about Hume's vision of philosophical anatomy and painting, and what unity there is rests on extremely unsteady ground and leaves important questions unanswered. In this article, my aim is three-fold: first, to show that the appearance of well-grounded scholarly unity about Humes distinction is illusory; second, to dispose of those misinterpretations of Hume's distinction that are sufficiently at odds with the text that they can be demonstrated to be false in this context; and third, to explore in sufficient detail the numerous questions one might raise about the content of Hume's distinction so that the stage might at last be properly set for a truly full account of Hume's distinction between philosophical anatomy and painting. (shrink)
At several key moments in his works, Hume draws our attention to the differences between two conceptions of philosophy. Deploying what were already then well‐worn metaphors, he calls these two “species” of philosophy “anatomy” and “painting.” Hume’s remarks about philosophical anatomy and painting have recently given rise to a number of scholarly debates. I focus here on just one of these debates: did Hume intend to combine anatomy and painting in some of his later works? Through an examination of the (...) evidence that has to date been adduced, I argue that we have at least one very good reason to think that such were Hume’s intentions, and no good reason to suppose otherwise. (shrink)
This chapter contains section titled: Humean Moral Sentiments as Responsibility Conferring Exclusion and Humean Moral Disapproval A Spectator's Standard of Virtue Looking Forward References Further Reading.
This dissertation examines the evolution of David Hume's ethics, focusing on moral judgment, moral motivation and ethical normativity. In chapter one, I argue that previous scholars have missed a crucial distinction between two different sympathetic processes at work in the Treatise. The first sympathetic process, "particular sympathy" is analogous to ordinary empathy and variable in just the way empathy is, but a second, non-variable process, "extensive sympathy" is the source of our moral sentiments. In chapter two, I give an account (...) of Hume's understanding of ethical normativity in the Treatise, arguing that he holds that society, our intimate relationships, and even our ability to be actively concerned with our long-term interests all depend on our adopting extensive sympathy as a standard by which to regulate our character and our passions. The view of moral motivation which then emerges is one on which our moral sentiments play the role of redirecting our natural passions and desires. ;In chapters three and four, I consider the second Enquiry, arguing that what had changed by the time of that work was not primarily the doctrine of Hume's ethics, but his view of the project of writing moral philosophy. In the Treatise, Hume seeks to explain and justify moral standards and judgments, while in the second Enquiry Hume also seeks to inspire people to regulate their lives by those standards and judgments. Only if we are alert to Hume's project in the second Enquiry will we at last resolve debates over whether Hume abandoned the doctrine of sympathy by the time of that work. Similarly, we need to understand the project of that work if we are to understand the section therein on our "interested obligation to virtue," and the appendix to that work called, "A Dialogue." ;In concluding, I place Hume against the map of contemporary ethics, arguing that philosophers with a broad variety of non-Humean and Humean committments have reason to take Hume's ethics seriously, in part because the account of Hume's ethics for which I have argued changes the map of contemporary ethics. (shrink)