Reading Response 7
1. According to David Hume, what is the doctrine of necessity? In your own words,
what does he claim gives rise to this idea of necessity? (3 points)
It’s universally allowed that matter in all its operations, is actuated by a
necessary force, and every natural effect is so precisely determined by the energy of
its cause that no other effect.
Our ideas of necessity result only from the observation of constant
conjunction between events and a certain determination of our minds.
2. Hume seems to be drawing an analogy between the uniformity between motives and
voluntary actions in humans, and the uniformity between causes and effects in nature
(see pg. 400ish). What point do you take him to be making via this analogy?
Furthermore, do you agree with this (i.e. the point you take it he is trying to make)?
Why or why not? Defend your answer in a way that shows critical engagement with
the reading. (3 points)
Not only the conjunction between motives and voluntary actions is as regular and
uniform as that between the cause and effect in any part of nature; but also this regular
conjunction has been universally acknowledged among mankind and has never been the
subject of dispute.
I agree because objects will always be conjoined together which we find to have
always been conjoined; it may seem superfluous to prove that this experienced uniformity
in human action is a source whence we draw inferences concerning them. In your own words, what does Hume mean by the doctrine of liberty? Why does he
say it is essential to morality? Do you agree? Why or why not? (3 points)
Doctrine of liberty means that as a power to act in the way we most desire to
act (free will).
It’s essential to morality because actions can be given a moral value only if
they are indications of the internal character, passions, and affections.
I agree. The reason is that if actions arise from external factors, they can give
rise neither to praise nor blame.
4. What is the difference between firstorder desires and secondorder desires, and what
is it that makes a person “wanton” on Frankfurt’s account? Give an example of a