Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
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.
Lustila, Getty L., "Hume on the Nature of Moral Freedom." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2012.