Pride, Fortune, and the Godless Man

Paul Russell

in Freedom and Moral Sentiment

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152906
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199869343 | DOI:
 Pride, Fortune, and the Godless Man

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An adequate theory of moral responsibility must describe to what extent the virtuous can legitimately and reasonably expect some measure of happiness as their due reward (in this life or the next). Hume's approach to these issues downplays the importance of a system of legal rewards and punishments. Furthermore, Hume firmly rejects any system of divine rewards and punishments in a future state. His alternative approach to these matters does, however, place considerable weight on the importance of “pride and humility” in moral life, considered as a source of happiness or misery. I explain these features of Hume's system and show how they are related to his wider philosophical outlook concerning the relationship between religion and morality.

Keywords: atheism; desert; distributive justice; fortune; future state; happiness; humility; irreligion; pride; secular ethics; virtue

Chapter.  9413 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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