Action, Character, and Excuses

Paul Russell

in Freedom and Moral Sentiment

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152906
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199869343 | DOI:
 Action, Character, and Excuses

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • History of Western Philosophy


Show Summary Details


Hume's understanding of how moral sentiment is aroused commits him to some puzzling and controversial views about responsibility and excusing considerations. More specifically, Hume maintains that people are responsible for actions only insofar as they reveal enduring qualities of mind or character. He also holds that agents cannot be held responsible for actions that were produced by qualities of mind that they no longer possess. In this chapter, I examine the basis of these claims and consider how they relate to Hume's naturalistic principles. I suggest that the specific theses that Hume advances are implausibly strong and at odds with the sort of ordinary moral experience that he claims to be drawing from.

Keywords: action; character; excuses; intention; moral sentiment; naturalism; passions; responsibility; utility

Chapter.  8523 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.