The Study of Human Nature and the Subjectivity of Value

Barry Stroud

in Philosophers Past and Present

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608591
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729621 | DOI:
The Study of Human Nature and the Subjectivity of Value

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This chapter describes and explores some of the apparent consequences for the understanding of human evaluative thought of the Enlightenment conception of a ‘science of human nature’ as Hume understands it. It discusses the parallel, explicitly drawn by Hume, between the subjectivity of values and the traditional doctrine of secondary qualities, and suggests in each case how attachment to a fully naturalistic science of human nature can make acceptance of both those views seem unavoidable. That would leave us at best with a conception of a colourless, value-free world on to which we merely ‘project’ whatever colours and feelings we find in our immediate experience as we respond to what that independent world presents us with.

Keywords: human evaluative thought; Hume; values; secondary qualities; sensory experience

Chapter.  17232 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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