Humes Morality: Feeling and Fabrication

Paperback | December 1, 2010

byRachel Cohon

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Rachel Cohon offers an original interpretation of the moral philosophy of David Hume, focusing on two areas. Firstly, his metaethics. Cohon reinterprets Hume's claim that moral distinctions are not derived from reason and explains why he makes it. She finds that Hume did not actually holdthree "Humean" claims: 1) that beliefs alone cannot move us to act, 2) that evaluative propositions cannot be validly inferred from purely factual propositions, or 3) that moral judgments lack truth value. According to Hume, human beings discern moral virtues and vices by means of feeling or emotionin a way rather like sensing; but this also gives the moral judge a truth-apt idea of a virtue or vice as a felt property. Secondly, Cohon examines the artificial virtues. Hume says that although many virtues are refinements of natural human tendencies, others (such as honesty) are constructed bysocial convention to make cooperation possible; and some of these generate paradoxes. She argues that Hume sees these traits as prosthetic virtues that compensate for deficiencies in human nature. However, their true status clashes with our common-sense conception of a virtue, and so has beenconcealed, giving rise to the paradoxes.

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Rachel Cohon offers an original interpretation of the moral philosophy of David Hume, focusing on two areas. Firstly, his metaethics. Cohon reinterprets Hume's claim that moral distinctions are not derived from reason and explains why he makes it. She finds that Hume did not actually holdthree "Humean" claims: 1) that beliefs alone can...

Rachel Cohon is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is the editor of Hume: Moral and Political Philosophy (Dartmouth/Ashgate, 2001) and author of a number of articles about Hume's moral philosophy and about the relation of between morality and reasons, including "Hume on Pro...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:December 1, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019959497X

ISBN - 13:9780199594979

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Table of Contents

Part I: Feeling Virtue1. Our Common Reading of Hume's Metaethics2. The Causes of Motivating Passions3. Reason Alone and Moral Discrimination4. Feeling Virtue and the Reality of Moral Distinctions5. The Common Point of ViewPart II: Fabricating Virtue6. The Difficulty with the Virtue of Honesty7. Fidelity to Promises and the Peculiar Act of the Mind8. The Shackles of Virtue: Allegiance to Government9. Criticizing Hume's List of Virtues and VicesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "Rachel Cohon provides an excellent, detailed, scholarly and thorough analysis of Hume's moral theory... Her book is a 'must read' for anyone working in Hume's ethics and moral theory generally." --Christine Swanton, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews