By Charles Pigden
This assortment is dedicated to questions in meta-ethics and ethical psychology bobbing up from the paintings of David Hume. the gathering focuses on questions coming up from Humes perspectives on cause, motivation and advantage together with new essays from awesome Hume students.
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Additional resources for Hume on Motivation and Virtue: New Essays (Philosophers in Depth)
Charles Pigden agrees that Hume conceives the moral properties as akin to secondary qualities. To say that a trait is a virtue is to say that it would excite the moral sense of a suitably qualified human observer (impartial, dispassionate and devoid of the delusive glosses of superstition and false religion), just as to say that a flower is violet is to say that it would excite the visual sense of a suitably qualified human observer (someone with functioning eyesight but without rose-tinted spectacles).
6/457) 32 Expressivism, Motivation Internalism, and Hume It is not unusual to find Hume’s premise that ‘morals excite passions’ formulated as motivation internalism: Simple Motivational Internalism (simple-MI): It is necessary and a priori that anyone who judges that she is morally required to will be (defeasibly) motivated to comply. My object here is not to assess the truth of simple-MI, but to investigate its logical relation to metaethical expressivism. There are broadly two ways in which one might use simple-MI in favour of expressivism.
The basis of Korsgaard’s complaint is that Hume succeeds in explaining (1) but not (2). We tend to do what we think is the right thing because we are motivated by our moral sentiments. But that does not explain why we are right to do so. Hume thinks that on reflection we tend to approve of the practice of doing what we tend to approve of, but for Korsgaard this kind of reflective endorsement is not enough. In Korsgaard’s view, moral behavior is justified because each of us shares a common practical identity – that of a rational human being – and that therefore we have reason to treat each other with the dignity due to rational agents.