The Naturalism of Hume's “Reconciling Project”

Paul Russell

in Freedom and Moral Sentiment

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152906
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199869343 | DOI:
 The Naturalism of Hume's “Reconciling Project”

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In this chapter, I provide a “naturalistic” interpretation of Hume's “reconciling project.” According to Hume, to hold a person responsible is to view them as the object of a moral sentiment, which is a calm form of love or hate (which are indirect passions). One of the major objectives of his “science of man” was to discover under what circumstances people are felt to be responsible and to describe the “regular mechanism” that produces these passions. Hume's specific arguments showing why “liberty of indifference” would make morality impossible, and why “necessity” is essential to it, must be interpreted, within the framework of his account of the mechanism that generates the moral sentiments. Clearly, then, Hume's arguments on this subject are very different in nature from those associated with the central tenets of classical compatibilism.

Keywords: compatibilism; indifference; liberty; moral sentiment; naturalism; necessity; passions; spontaneity

Chapter.  7754 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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