Lecture 4: Jan 30
1. Hume’s Arguments for Reason’s Enslavement to Passion
2. Haidt’s Humean View of Moral Psychology
Hume is an 18th century Scottish philosopher (early-modern). The Treatise on Human
Nature is one of his major publications.
Hume thinks that reason has a limited role to play in our theoretical knowledge of the
world. He is an anti-rationalist. He thinks that reason has a limited role in guiding our ac-
tions because it can’t provide any motivation for actions.
According to Hume, what drives our actions are passions (emotions like anger, fear, joy,
grief, hope). Hume thinks its passions that really drive our practical judgements and ac-
Reason can’t be a source of practical goals and motivation.
Arguments for his claim:
Demonstrative knowledge: determined with certainty. Relation with ideas. (e.g.
Pythagorean theorem. 3*5 is half of 30. or no women are bachelors). All deals with the
relation of ideas.
Empirical reasoning: we can observe regular conjunctions between events and draw in-
ferences about how they are causally connected (e.g. every time I strike a match
against a surface - a fire is cre