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Hume Studies

Volume 36, Issue 2, November 2010

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Displaying: 1-10 of 13 documents

1. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Simon Hope The Circumstances of Justice
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The aim of this paper is, first, to address three recent criticisms of Hume’s account of the circumstances of justice, and secondly, to consider how an account of the circumstances of justice may be deployed in philosophical argument when detached from Hume’s own narrow concern with rules of property. Against the criticisms lodged by Brian Barry and Martha Nussbaum, I argue that Hume does not build a conception of justice as mutual advantage into the circumstances of justice. Against the criticism lodged against modern invocations of the circumstances of justice by Gerry Cohen, I argue that any plausible account of deliberative reflection must be at once action-guiding and world-guided. This allows an account of the circumstances of justice—those features of the world no plausible theory of justice can idealize away—to do some justificatory work.
2. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Michael Ridge David Hume, Paternalist
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A standard worry about Hume’s account of justice is that it leaves those who are most vulnerable outside the circumstances of justice. An equally standard reply is that those who are so vulnerable as to fall outside the scope of justice need not thereby fall outside the scope of morality altogether, because on Hume’s account we will often have duties of humanity to treat vulnerable creatures decently. It is not clear that this reply is adequate, for given the apparent priority of justice over natural virtues like those of humanity, it is not clear that duties of humanity provide enough protection for the weak. This paper identifies another problem with Hume’s reply: if those who are extremely vulnerable are nonetheless rational and fully capable of autonomous judgment about how to live, then Hume’s theory still delivers the wrong sorts of protections for them. In particular, it is very plausible to suppose that it would be immoral to engage in paternalistic interference with the decisions of such weak but rational agents about how to live, as long as they are not thereby harming or wronging anyone else. Treating such rational but vulnerable agents paternalistically seems unjust, but Hume’s account cannot vindicate this intuition. Indeed, Hume not only cannot explain why such paternalism is unjust, he seems forced to conclude that we will often be obligated by duties of humanity to engage in such paternalism. For Hume seems committed to the unpalatable conclusion that morality speaks unambiguously in favour of paternalistic interference in such cases as long as we can be reasonably sure that the intended beneficiaries really will be made better off. In this paper, I develop and press this new objection from paternalism against Hume’s account of the circumstances of justice.
3. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Lorraine Besser-Jones Hume on Pride-in-Virtue: A Reliable Motive?
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Many commentators have argued that on Hume’s account, pride turns out to be something that is unstable, context-dependent, and highly contingent. On their readings, whether or not an agent develops pride depends heavily on factors beyond her control, such as whether or not her house, which is beautiful, is also the most beautiful in her neighborhood and whether or not her neighbors will admire the beauty of her house rather than become envious of it. These aspects of Hume’s theory of pride, the peculiarity requirement and the social dependency of pride, stand in tension with Hume’s claims that virtue reliably produces pride-in-virtue and that pride-in-virtue serves as a powerful motive to virtue. If pride depends on the affirmation of others and arises only from qualities that are peculiar to their possessor, will the virtuous person reliably develop pride-in-virtue? And if not, can pride-in-virtue serve the motivational role Hume attributes to it? This paper tackles these problems by showing how the virtuous develop pride-in-virtue and how the desire for pride-in-virtue can serve as a powerful and admirable motive to virtue.
4. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Rachel Cohon Hume’s Moral Sentiments As Motives
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Do the moral sentiments move us to act, according to Hume? And if so, how? Hume famously deploys the claim that moral evaluations move us to act to show that they are not derived from reason alone. Presumably, moral evaluations move us because (as Hume sees it) they are, or are the product of, moral sentiments. So, it would seem that moral approval and disapproval are or produce motives to action. This raises three interconnected interpretive questions. First, on Hume’s account, we are moved to do many virtuous actions not by the sentiments of approval and disapproval, but by other sentiments, such as gratitude and parental love; so when and how do the moral sentiments themselves provide motives to act morally? The second question arises as a result of a position I defend here, that the moral sentiments are best understood as Humean indirect affections. Hume says that the four main indirect passions (pride, humility, love and hatred) do not directly move us to act. The second question, then, is whether their status as indirect affections nonetheless allows moral approval and disapproval to be or provide motives. Finally, if we make a natural assumption about how Hume thinks belief about future pleasure is connected to the desire to obtain it (I call it the signpost assumption), it turns out that the mechanisms for producing motives that most naturally come to mind are ones that are equally available to reason alone. This introduces the third question: given the constraints Hume imposes on the nature of the moral sentiments, is there a way in which they can move usto act that is not also a way in which reason alone does? I argue that, given the signpost assumption, while Hume has greatly constrained his options, his moral sentiments do have one very limited way of moving us to act that is not available to reason alone. However, there are reasons to doubt that Hume endorses the signpost assumption. Without it, our moral evaluations have a far greater capacity to produce motives to act. One important objection arises; but this problem can be solved by rejecting a further assumption about what counts as being produced by reason alone.
critical review
5. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Angela Coventry Critical Review of Recent Introductory Works on Hume
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book reviews
6. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Melissa Barry Slaves of the Passions
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7. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Lorenzo Greco Persons and Passions: Essays in Honor of Annette Baier
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8. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Jennifer A. Herdt David Hume: A Dissertation on the Passions; The Natural History of Religion
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9. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
David O’Connor Spectres of False Divinity: Hume’s Moral Atheism
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10. Hume Studies: Volume > 36 > Issue: 2
Ryu Susato David Hume
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