The Argument from Sentimentalism 1: Hume's Critique of Religious Passions

Thomas Holden

in Spectres of False Divinity

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579945
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722776 | DOI:
The Argument from Sentimentalism 1: Hume's Critique of Religious Passions

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This is the first of two chapters documenting and examining Hume's argument from sentimentalism to moral atheism. The argument appeals to Hume's account of the natural limits of our human passions, along with his sentimentalist metaphysics of morals, in order to conclude that the deity is beyond the projected, response-dependent world of moral properties. The chapter focuses on the first stage of the argument, Hume's claim that the deity is not the ‘natural object’ of any of our passions, including love, hate, gratitude, envy, and the rest. In Hume's view, none of our passions — none of our affective attitudes, none of our intentional feelings, emotions, or sentiments — can be directed toward this sort of transcendental being.

Keywords: affect; deity; emotion; Hume; moral atheism; passions; religious affect; religious emotion; sentiments; sentimentalism

Chapter.  14329 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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