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Moral MotivationA History$
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Iakovos Vasiliou

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199316564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199316564.001.0001

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Hume on Moral Motivation

Hume on Moral Motivation

(p.179) Chapter Seven Hume on Moral Motivation
Moral Motivation

Jacqueline Taylor

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a general overview of Hume’s views on motivation, paying particular attention to the influence of belief on motivating passions, hence on the will. Moral motives take the form of virtues, character traits, or dispositions that enable an agent to act in ways that are useful or agreeable, to herself or to others. Given his particular stress on useful traits, a key part of Hume’s account of morality lies in examining how a community determines just which motives and actions have utility, and which are pernicious. In his Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals Hume examines how virtues of good judgment inform both our evaluation of action and deliberation and moral motivation. The virtue of pride has a special role in Hume’s ethics since it is sustained by others’ moral approval of an agent’s virtuous character, and her pride in turn sustains her commitment to acting well.

Keywords:   Hume, motivation, virtue, character, utility, deliberation, evaluation, belief, good judgment

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