Hume on pleasure and value and the Kantian challenge

André Klaudat


In this paper I examine Hume’s claims about the nature of moral sentiments (mainly in T 3.1.2) using as a foil the Kantian challenge to all material practical principles: they are all of the same type, being based on self-love and making all choices, including moral ones, hedonically fungible. The paper explores Hume’s views on pleasure as constitutive of moral sentiment as an answer to that challenge arguing that for him only pleasure is essentially valuable for beings like us. It thus grounds a notion of value which, through a “progressive or dynamic” view of human nature, informs a conception of moral pleasure – a “taste in character traits” – as a distinctive type of pleasure that is not amenable to a mere quantitative criterium to guide moral choice.

Keywords: Hume’s moral philosophy, moral sentiments, human nature, Kant.

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ISSN: 1984-8234 - Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [Updated on September 23, 2016].

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