Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hume on Morality (Index)

I've already done one series covering Hume's arguments on religion. One thing that disappointed me when writing up that series was the insufficient attention it paid to Hume's moral philosophy. This series tries to fill the gap.

As with my series on Hume's religious philosophy, I am going to work off an article in the excellent Cambridge Companion to Hume. On this occasion my chosen article is "The Foundations of Morality in Hume's Treatise" by David Fate Norton.

This article covers Hume's contributions to the contemporary (i.e. 18th C) debate on moral ontology and epistemology. In other words, it deals with Hume's attempt to answer the following questions:

  • What features of the natural world do our judgements of right and wrong actually reflect? Do they reflect principles that are woven into the fabric of reality or do they merely reflect our own self-interests and prejudices?
  • Which of our cognitive faculties (Reason or Emotion) enable us to grasp these moral distinctions?
These questions continue to befuddle us to this day. And we can see in contemporary debates in metaethics the lasting influence of Hume. This series will help to show why Hume's views were so influential.

This index will grow as I work my way through the article.


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