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Title: Some problems in Hume's moral philosophy
Author: Borowski, Carole Joyce
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1971
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This thesis is an examination of three main aspects of Hume's moral philosophy: the distinction between ths natural and artificial virtues, the operation of sympathy, and the notion of the general point of view. It begins with an examination of Hume's concept of a virtue, concluding that a virtue is to be analysed as a disposition to have certain kinds of motives. The natural virtues and the artificial virtues are then examined separately, the motives underlying both are analysed, and it is decided that these motives must be described in terms of purposes. Although the motives underlying the natural virtues are seen to fulfill two criteria that Hume sets forth, the motives underlying the artificial virtues are seen to meet neither. The artificial virtues are shown to be distinct virtues, rather than redirected natural virtues. The chapter on sympathy outlines the mechanics of this operation with reference to four different classes of virtues. It also deals with a disagreement between Ingemar Hendenius and Pall Ardal, two commentators on Hume's moral philosophy, as to whether the operation of sympathy is a necessary condition of all moral evaluation. It is argued that if the operation of sympathy is considered without reference to the taking of a general point of view, Hendenius' argument appears to be valid, but that in the end Ardal is actually correct. The notion of a general point of view is then analysed, is shown to be a necessary condition of all moral evaluation, and is than related to the distinction between the natural and the artificial virtues. It is finally concluded that the concept of an artificial virtue, the operation of sympathy and the notion of a general point of view between them give an account of the requirements for being a moral agent.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy