Moral sense and virtue in Hume's ethics

In T. D. J. Chappell (ed.), Values and Virtues: Aristotelianism in Contemporary Ethics. Oxford University Press (2006)
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Abstract

The problem that I am primarily concerned with in this paper is the nature of moral capacity as it relates to virtue in Hume’s ethical system.1 In particular, I am concerned with the relationship between virtue and moral sense. Hume’s remarks about this matter are both brief and scattered. I will argue, nevertheless, that when we piece together his various claims and observations on this subject we discover some important insights that add to the overall coherence and credibility of his system. The most important of these is the suggestion that our ability to acquire and sustain the virtues depends in large measure on our capacity for moral sense. Throughout this paper I will explore this theme and show how it relates to other key components in Hume’s scheme.

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Paul Russell
Lund University

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