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postgraduate thesis: Hume's sentimentalism and moral motivation

TitleHume's sentimentalism and moral motivation
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Cook, GA
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Zhou, Y. [周玉清]. (2013). Hume's sentimentalism and moral motivation. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5153746
AbstractWhy should I be moral? My thesis is dedicated to exploring how David Hume’s moral theory may answer this question. According to Hume’s psychology of action, only passions, desires and dispositions have motivational force, but reason alone has not. As Hume believes that morality is action-guided, he bases his moral theory on sentiments. The advantage of a sentiment-based theory is that it easily explains why we follow morality: as we have moral sentiments, we already have a motive to follow morality. However, it seems that a moral theory based on sentiments hardly explains why we follow impartial judgments, for original sentiments arising from sympathy are always partial. proposes a general point of view to correct unregulated sympathy. Adopting a general point of view, we leave aside personal interest and view a person through the eyes of those who are in his narrow circle according to the effects his character tends to cause. However, there seems be tension between sentimentalism and Hume’s general point of view. It is doubtful whether the judgments made from a general point of view are still sentiment-based and how we are moved to leave our personal standpoint to take up a general point of view when we are naturally more concerned with our own self-interest. Hence, the main difficulty for Hume’s moral theory is to explain what causes us to adopt a general point of view and act morally in a sentimentalist framework. I suggest that to get rid of the contradiction in the soul caused by our sympathy with others’ sentiments is the primary motive for us to adopt a general point of view. Moreover, understanding the limitations of human nature, we do not have overly high expectation of people; hence, we are satisfied with a person if he benefits his narrow circle and therefore limit ourselves to a general point view.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectMoral motivation
Dept/ProgramPhilosophy
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/195973

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorCook, GA-
dc.contributor.authorZhou, Yuqing-
dc.contributor.author周玉清-
dc.date.accessioned2014-03-21T03:50:02Z-
dc.date.available2014-03-21T03:50:02Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationZhou, Y. [周玉清]. (2013). Hume's sentimentalism and moral motivation. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5153746-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/195973-
dc.description.abstractWhy should I be moral? My thesis is dedicated to exploring how David Hume’s moral theory may answer this question. According to Hume’s psychology of action, only passions, desires and dispositions have motivational force, but reason alone has not. As Hume believes that morality is action-guided, he bases his moral theory on sentiments. The advantage of a sentiment-based theory is that it easily explains why we follow morality: as we have moral sentiments, we already have a motive to follow morality. However, it seems that a moral theory based on sentiments hardly explains why we follow impartial judgments, for original sentiments arising from sympathy are always partial. proposes a general point of view to correct unregulated sympathy. Adopting a general point of view, we leave aside personal interest and view a person through the eyes of those who are in his narrow circle according to the effects his character tends to cause. However, there seems be tension between sentimentalism and Hume’s general point of view. It is doubtful whether the judgments made from a general point of view are still sentiment-based and how we are moved to leave our personal standpoint to take up a general point of view when we are naturally more concerned with our own self-interest. Hence, the main difficulty for Hume’s moral theory is to explain what causes us to adopt a general point of view and act morally in a sentimentalist framework. I suggest that to get rid of the contradiction in the soul caused by our sympathy with others’ sentiments is the primary motive for us to adopt a general point of view. Moreover, understanding the limitations of human nature, we do not have overly high expectation of people; hence, we are satisfied with a person if he benefits his narrow circle and therefore limit ourselves to a general point view.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshMoral motivation-
dc.titleHume's sentimentalism and moral motivation-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5153746-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplinePhilosophy-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5153746-

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