Date of Award

Summer 7-11-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Eric Wilson

Second Advisor

Sebastian Rand

Third Advisor

Jessica Berry

Fourth Advisor

Andrew Altman


Paul Russell argues that the interpretation of Hume as a classical compatibilist is misguided. Russell defends a naturalistic reading of Humean freedom and moral responsibility. On this account, Hume holds two theses: that moral responsibility is a product of our moral sentiments, and that our concept of moral freedom is derived from our considerations of moral responsibility. Russell claims that Hume’s theory of the passions is non-cognitivist, and thus that his account of moral judgment fails to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary actions or qualities of mind. He concludes that Hume’s account of moral responsibility is inadequate. I argue that Hume has a cognitivist account of the passions. For Hume, our character is judged to be a proper object of praise or censure on account of our ability to partake in a moral community with our fellows. I conclude that Hume does not naturalize freedom and moral responsibility, but socializes it.