Jacqueline Taylor presents an original reconstruction of Hume's social theory, which examines the passions and imagination in relation to institutions such as government and the economy. She goes on to examine Hume's system of ethics, and argues that the principle of humanity is the central concept of Hume's Enlightenment philosophy.
This article identifies a prevalent strand of feminist writing on beauty and aesthetic surgery and explores some of the contradictions and inconsistencies inscribed within it. In particular, we concentrate on three central feminist claims: that living in a misogynist culture produces aesthetic surgery as an issue predominantly concerning women; that pain - both physical and psychic - is a central conceptual frame through which aesthetic surgery should be viewed; and that aesthetic surgery is inherently a normalizing technology. Engaging with these (...) ‘myths’, we explore the tensions uncovered through a historical analysis of the practices of aesthetic surgery as well as the challenges to feminist claims offered by post-feminism. In particular we seek to destabilize the connection in feminist writing between beauty and passivity. We argue that through aesthetic references to denigrated black and working-class bodies, young women may mobilize aesthetic surgeries to reinscribe active sexuality on the feminine body. (shrink)
Among those sympathetic to Hume''smoral philosophy, a general consensus hasemerged that his first work on the topic,A Treatise of Human Nature, is his best. Hislater work, An Enquiry Concerning thePrinciples of Morals, is regarded as scaleddown in both scope and ambition. In contrastto this standard view, I argue that Hume''slater work offers a more sophisticated theoryof moral evaluation. I begin by reviewing theTreatise theory of moral evaluation tohighlight the reasons why commentators find socompelling Hume''s account of the corrections wemake to (...) our moral sentiments. The method isendorsed by philosophers such as Henry DavidAiken and Annette C. Baier because, theyallege, it shows that moral sentiments reflecta process of judgment that includes thepossibility of corrigibility and ofjustification. But Hume''s method of correctionfalls short and does not establish why thesentiments conforming to the standard of virtueshould count as moral judgments. In the secondEnquiry, Hume lays out a different set ofcriteria, including not only the need forcertain virtues of good judgment but attentionto the particular cultural and historicalorigins of the norms governing the virtues ofgood judgment. Hume''s attention to diversityin evaluative outlook in his more matureposition takes seriously the relation betweenmoral authority and public debate. (shrink)
This chapter contains section titled: Introduction The Importance of Character Sympathy, the Indirect Passions, and Moral Sentiment Sympathy, Sentiment and Impartial Evaluation of Character The Errors of Remoteness and Countervailing Interest The Consequentialist Error The Authority of the Moral Sentiments Moral Knowledge as a Shared Resource Note References Further reading.
In including a well-regulated pride among the virtues that are both useful and agreeable to oneself, Hume challenges not only theological, but also secular accounts that view pride as a vice. I examine Hume's evolving views on pride in relation to the secular view that regards pride as vicious. I suggest Hume's account of pride in his later moral philosophy has a new emphasis on dignity, and reflects a distinctively modern outlook on the role of humanity in evaluating virtue and (...) vice. (shrink)
Although best known for his contributions to the theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion, Hume also influenced developments in the philosophy of mind, psychology, ethics, political and economic theory, political and social history, and aesthetic theory. The fifteen essays in this volume address all aspects of Hume's thought. The picture of him that emerges is that of a thinker who, though often critical to the point of scepticism, was nonetheless able to build on that scepticism a constructive, viable, (...) and profoundly important view of the world. Also included in this volume are Hume's two brief autobiographies and a bibliography suited to those beginning their study of Hume. This second edition of one our most popular Companions includes six new essays and a new introduction, and the remaining essays have all been updated or revised. (shrink)
The paper offers an account of justified resentment and its importance in preserving human dignity. I situate the argument in the context of Martha Nussbaum's recent work against anger and resentment. Drawing on Enlightenment thinkers, I show the importance of resentment in deterring injury, in creating greater solidarity and humanity, and in preserving human dignity. The paper also offers a preliminary analysis of the norms that help to ensure appropriately expressed resentment.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Comments on Margaret Watkins, The Philosophical Progress of Hume’s “Essays”Jacqueline Taylor (bio)After David Hume’s death, Adam Smith wrote a letter to Hume’s publisher, William Strahan, to recount some of the final words and the attitude of “our late excellent friend, Mr. Hume.”1 Despite declining health and increasing weakness, Hume faced his approaching demise “with great cheerfulness” (EMPL xlvi). He had recently been reading Lucian’s Dialogues of the Dead, and (...) although feeling he had every reason “to die contented,” Smith describes the “jocular excuses” Hume might make to Charon to delay his death (EMPL xlv). He first requests more time so that he can see how the public responds to the latest corrections he had been making to his works, but Charon replied that this would only lead Hume to want more time to make further corrections. Hume tries another tack: “Have a little patience, good Charon, I have been endeavouring to open the eyes of the public. If I live a few years longer, I may have the satisfaction of seeing the downfall of some of the prevailing systems of superstition,” to which Charon replies, “You loitering rogue, that will not happen these many hundred years... Get into the boat this instant, you lazy loitering rogue” (EMPL xlvi). This imaginary dialogue makes evident Hume’s self-awareness as an author who cared greatly about both the correctness of his written works and the influence of these works on the public.In her book, Margaret Watkins argues that Hume’s concern to open the eyes of the public goes well beyond attempts to bring about the downfall of systems of superstition.2 She credits him with the broader aim of writing essays for a literate audience that would stimulate both public and individual improvement in various areas of human activity, including government, work, aesthetic experience, and intimate [End Page 155] relationships. The first three chapters of the book examine the case for Hume’s concern with public improvement. Chapter 1 focuses primarily on the political essays, and examines Hume’s account of governing and his criticism of the irrationality apt to arise with divisive political factionalism. Chapter 2 turns to inequalities of power and the circumstances that allow some to exercise to a greater degree the domineering tendency that is part of human nature. Watkins uses Hume’s essay on the population size of ancient and modern societies to reconstruct his view on the ills—to both masters and slaves—of ancient slaveholding. She complicates this discussion by looking at modern slaveholding in the colonies, and Hume’s puzzling lack of attention to this. In the ancient world, slaveholding resulted from war and conquest, and Watkins examines how ancient warfare also led to greater ferocity and anger in fighting and exacerbated cruelty (a trait Hume had deemed the worst vice in the Treatise [T 184.108.40.206]).3 This is another place where Watkins sees Hume taking stock of modern improvements. In the wide-ranging third chapter, entitled “Working,” Watkins considers economic circumstances as moral causes that can shape character, highlighting the importance for Hume of the commercial virtues, especially industry.4 She also shows that in the four essays on happiness, modeled on Hellenistic sects, each type of philosopher regards industry, or at least occupation, as essential to human happiness. Watkins concludes that the need for industry is thus something we are naturally motivated to seek out, and so an integral part of human nature. Chapter 4, on “Composing,” shows Watkins’s talents as a philosophical essayist in her own right, as she relates art and other forms of beauty to the cultivation of calm passions. We find here an insightful discussion of art, whether composing or consuming, as having particularly therapeutic effects on melancholy and other forms of nervous conditions. Chapters 5 and 6 take up, respectively, love for oneself and love for others. The former looks at the importance Hume places on both self-love and pride. Here Watkins draws primarily on Hume’s more morally theoretical works, both the Treatise and EPM, since they have more to say about self-valuing. Chapter 6 shows how we may fruitfully read... (shrink)
This chapter contains section titled: Background for Hume's Views Beauty, Virtue, and the Double Association Beauty and Virtue as Powers of Producing Pleasure Beauty, Utility, and Sympathy Sympathy and the Standard of Virtue Beauty and Virtue in Hume's Later Philosophy The Standard of Taste More on Delicacy and the Pleasures of Beauty Beauty and Morality in “Of the Standard of Taste” References Further Reading.
I have shown here the different roles that sympathy plays in the accounts of justice in the Treatise and Enquiry. In the former work, a redirected sympathy naturally extends our concern, and subsequently our moral approval or blame, to all those included within the scope of the rules of justice. In the Enquiry, we find this same progress of sentiments, but Hume’s introduction of the sentiment of humanity allows him to make a stronger case for the importance of those virtues (...) that are useful, particularly the virtues of justice. The command of our esteem and our moral approval of justice secure a place for justice at the heart of Hume’s ethics. This does not entail, however, that other useful virtues are not also essential. Benevolence and the care of children, friendship, and gratitude not only help to sustain sociability, but they are essential for living a properly human life. (shrink)
Hume's Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals is a landmark work in the history of moral philosophy. This volume presents new interpretative essays which offer a section-by-section study of the Enquiry, and of its relation to Hume's other writings on ethics, epistemology, religion, aesthetics, and emotion.
In Part 3 of Projection and Realism, P. J. E. Kail offers an original and thought-provoking analysis of Hume's views on morality. Kail seeks to make sense of Hume's talk of projection and realism. Kail's stated aim is to help us understand Hume's own views, rather than some new Humean view. Part 3 is thus a contribution to the literature on Hume's meta-ethics. Kail's particular approach presents two challenges to the student of Hume's works. First, Kail gives us a set (...) of terms that are not Hume's; this includes a distinction between explanatory projection and feature projection; a distinction between two forms of realism, metaphysical hedonism and the identification of moral value with natural properties of. (shrink)
Elizabeth Radcliffe's book is an important and original contribution to scholarship on Hume's ethics and moral psychology. Throughout, she deftly combines important discussions of Hume's predecessors and contemporaries that serve to contextualize his views with in-depth analysis of Hume's texts. At the same time, she shows an impressive familiarity with more recent scholarship on Hume's and Humean ethics, and deploys much of this recent scholarship to frame her own interpretation of Hume's ethics and moral psychology. That sophisticated and nuanced interpretation (...) focuses particularly on the relations between and the respective roles played by belief, the passions, and moral sentiments in motivation and agency.The... (shrink)
In chapter 1, I argue that Hume well understands the experimental method and its role as what Geoffrey Cantor refers to as "a discourse of power," insofar as establishing facts in terms of efficient causation properly delimits what counts as a science, which is, in Hume's case, a science of human nature. With respect to the passions, I focus on parts 1 and 2 of Treatise Book 2, as an extended set of experiments meant to explain the origin, nature, and (...) effects of the passion of pride, an indirect passion that reflects a person's self-worth in virtue of her valuable qualities. Beginning with the observable phenomena of pride, Hume identifies various theoretical entities that constitute aspects of the cause and effect... (shrink)
This paper argues that the ‘double-standard’ applied to male and female tourists’ sexual behaviour reflects and reproduces weaknesses in existing theoretical and commonsense understandings of gendered power, sexual exploitation, prostitution and sex tourism. It looks at how essentialist constructions of gender and heterosexuality blur understandings of sexual exploitation and victimhood and argues that racialized power should also be considered to explore the boundaries between commercial and non-commercial sex. This paper is based on ethnographic research on sexual–economic exchanges between tourist women (...) and local men and boys in the informal tourist economy in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. (shrink)
I thank Genevieve Lloyd for her generous and thought-provoking comments and questions. She raises two distinct issues: one regarding how to think about the way in which Hume's account of pride might be innovative, and the other about how a genre of philosophical writing limits or opens up what and how an author might discuss the subject at hand. She sets both issues in the context of comparing Spinoza with Hume.Lloyd reminds us that A. O. Hirschman, in The Passions and (...) the Interests, charts a conceptual shift between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, such that the change in political and economic conditions, heralding the rise of capitalism, led to the deposing of the traditional opposition between reason... (shrink)