Hume's Cognitive Theory of Pride

Donald Davidson

in Essays on Actions and Events

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246274
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191715198 | DOI:

Series: The Philosophical Essays of Donald Davidson (5 Volumes)

 Hume's Cognitive Theory of Pride

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Davidson works Hume's remarks on pride into a coherent propositional theory free from Hume's ‘epistemological machinery’. Hume claims that the causal basis for feeling pride is a belief relating the proud person to the object he feels proud about (occasionally identical to himself): one isn’t proud of a house unless it is one's own. Davidson spells out which formal conditions have to hold for the analysis to go through, indicating that the agent must be referred to pronominally in the belief, and that the agent needs to appraise the property he self‐ascribes rather than the one he ascribes to the object of his pride. Davidson explores whether Hume's own theories of ‘simple impressions’ (here, of pride), self, and causality can sustain the account and, if not, whether they are needed to sustain it. After subjecting the account to criticism, Davidson concludes that by causally explaining pride (in terms of the aforementioned belief plus the attitude of appraisal), Hume helps rationalize both pride and the further actions it may motivate and cause.

Keywords: causal explanation; causality; Hume; pride; pronouns; rationalization; self; theory of impressions (Hume)

Chapter.  6359 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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