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James Chamberlain
University of Sheffield
  1. Hume's emotivist theory of moral judgements.James Chamberlain - 2019 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):1058-1072.
    Hume is believed by many to hold an emotivist thesis, according to which all expressions of moral judgements are expressions of moral sentiments. However, most specialist scholars of Hume either deny that this is Hume's position or believe that he has failed to argue convincingly for it. I argue that Hume is an emotivist, and that his true arguments for emotivism have been hitherto overlooked. Readers seeking to understand Hume's theory of moral judgements have traditionally looked to the first section (...)
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  2. The Evolutionary Debunking of Quasi-Realism.Neil Sinclair & James Chamberlain - 2022 - In Diego E. Machuca (ed.), Evolutionary Debunking Arguments: Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Mathematics, Metaphysics, and Epistemology. London: Routledge. pp. 33-55.
    In “The Evolutionary Debunking of Quasi-Realism,” Neil Sinclair and James Chamberlain present a novel answer that quasi-realists can pro-vide to a version of the reliability challenge in ethics—which asks for an explanation of why our moral beliefs are generally true—and in so doing, they examine whether evolutionary arguments can debunk quasi-realism. Although reliability challenges differ from EDAs in several respects, there may well be a connection between them. For the explanatory premise of an EDA may state that a particular theory (...)
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  3. Hume on Calm Passions, Moral Sentiments, and the "Common Point of View".James Chamberlain - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (1):79-101.
    I argue for a thorough reinterpretation of Hume’s “common point of view” thesis, at least within his moral Enquiry. Hume is typically understood to argue that we correct for sympathetically produced variations in our moral sentiments, by undertaking an imaginative exercise. I argue that Hume cannot consistently claim this, because he argues that we automatically experience the same degree of the same moral sentiment towards all tokens of any one type of character trait. I then argue that, in his Enquiry (...)
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  4. Moral realism, quasi‐realism and moral steadfastness.James Chamberlain - 2021 - Ratio 35 (1):1-12.
    Some moral propositions are so obviously true that we refuse to doubt them, even where we believe that many people disagree. Following Fritz and McPherson, I call our behaviour in such cases ‘moral steadfastness’. In this paper, I argue for two metaethical implications of moral steadfastness. I first argue that morally steadfast behaviour is sufficiently prevalent to present an important challenge for some prominent analogies between moral epistemology and non-moral forms of epistemology. These analogies are often pressed by moral realists. (...)
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  5. Justice and the Tendency towards Good: The Role of Custom in Hume's Theory of Moral Motivation.James Chamberlain - 2017 - Hume Studies 43 (1):117-137.
    Given the importance of sympathetic pleasures within Hume’s account of approval and moral motivation, why does Hume think we feel obliged to act justly on those occasions when we know that doing so will benefit nobody? I argue that Hume uses the case of justice as evidence for a key claim regarding all virtues. Hume does not think we approve of token virtuous actions, whether natural or artificial, because they cause or aim to cause happiness in others. It is sufficient (...)
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