Chapter

The Argument from Sentimentalism 2: Religious Passions and the Deity's Moral Status

Thomas Holden

in Spectres of False Divinity

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579945
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722776 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579945.003.0004
The Argument from Sentimentalism 2: Religious Passions and the Deity's Moral Status

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This is the second of two chapters examining Hume's argument from sentimentalism to moral atheism. According to the argument, human passions, including our feelings of moral approval and disapproval, range only so far as the outer frontier of sense and imagination. Given Hume's sentimentalist metaphysics of morals, it follows that the projected properties of virtue and vice are confined to the immanent world, and cannot characterize any transcendental order beyond this permanent horizon: the deity cannot have any moral attributes. It is argued that Hume is committed to this argument, and that he is aware that he is so committed. The chapter also examines possible objections to the argument, and concludes that it is defensible on Hume's own terms.

Keywords: deity; Hume; moral atheism; moral attributes; passions; religious affect; sentimentalism

Chapter.  6940 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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