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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 17, 1992

Clarence Sholé Johnson
Pages 225-238

Yet Another Look at Cognitive Reason and Moral Action in Hume’s Ethical System

But for a very recent exception, Hume has generally been thought to deny that cognitive reason plays a distinctive role in morality. The cornerstone of this view has been his notorious remark that reason is and ought only to be the slave of passion and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey passion. But, this remark notwithstanding, Hume’s view about the significance of intention in moral processes suggests that he does assign to cognitive reason a very crucial role in morality. This is what the present study establishes.

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