The Argument from Motivation

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 Motivation

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This chapter documents and examines Hume's argument from motivation to moral atheism. The argument appeals to Hume's account of the passions as the engines of action along with a form of probabilistic reasoning about the likely character of any first cause or ultimate organizing principle responsible for the ordered universe. According to Hume, even though we know nothing positive about the distinctive intrinsic character of the deity, we can judge it highly unlikely that this ultimate being or principle has the sort of anthropomorphic sentimental psychology required to ground any responsiveness to moral concerns.

Keywords: deity; Hume; motivation; passions; moral atheism; sentimental psychology; sentiments

Chapter.  9692 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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