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Additional resources for Hume on Motivation and Virtue
IV) Three out of the four formulations of the Motivation Argument are invalid, and version C only approximates validity by exaggerating the SRT. ” But except in the case of C, all that premise (2) says is that reason alone has no such influence – that is, that reason-based beliefs cannot motivate without the aid of a pre-existing passion – which is all that the SRT purports to prove. But if all that (2) says is that reason-based beliefs cannot motivate by themselves, this opens up the possibility that moral beliefs are in fact derived from reason but do their motivating business with the aid of a pre-existing passion such as a desire to do the right thing.
Consider the generalised argumentative format: Premise 1: Moral judgements express conative state C (regarding the subject of the judgement). Premise 2: Sincere moral judgements have quality Q (vis-à-vis the mental state expressed). Therefore: If S sincerely judges that she is morally required to , then her judgement has quality Q vis-à-vis C (regarding her ing). I call the conclusion ‘motivation-internalism-ish’ on the grounds that it asserts a relation between moral judgement and a kind of motivational state (C).
These are not the concepts that exercised Hume. It was the virtues in general and some specific virtues in particular, such as justice, benevolence and chastity that interested him. But from about 1850 to about 1950 the big questions in ethics could be summed up in the chapter headings of W. D. ,” “The Meaning of ‘Good,’” “The Nature of Goodness,” etc. with the proviso that as the twentieth century wore on, the semantic status of claims involving these concepts – were they factual statements about non-natural properties or expressions of emotion?