Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

"Hume’s Ethics of Virtue: Sentiments, Character, and Reflection"

Final Report Summary - HUMVIRET (Hume’s Ethics of Virtue: Sentiments, Character, and Reflection)

Through the systematic juxtaposition of a detailed examination of David Hume's work and the secondary literature with the most recent theoretical programs in moral philosophy, Dr Greco advances an innovative, as yet unformulated, interpretation of Hume’s moral sentimentalism. Hinging on an original interpretation of Hume’s notion of the self as based on the passions of pride and humility, Dr Greco’s project puts together a series of questions of central philosophical interest in a structured and harmonious way. The intent is that of elaborating a new comprehensive proposal to be presented as an effective theoretical alternative in contemporary ethical debate. This is articulated in relation to three fundamental areas of study that bridge metaethics, normative ethics, and moral psychology:
1) the nature of ethical normativity;
2) the nature of motivation and its relation to a sentimentalist Humean explanation of normativity;
3) the nature of moral agents considered as persons having a virtuous or vicious character.
It is Dr Greco’s contention that from the resulting account of these questions, and the connections between them, a precise normative theory emerges, consisting in a distinctive version of Humean Virtue Ethics. The research proposed aims at providing a monograph-length study of Hume’s ethical sentimentalism, which will be of significant interest to a wide audience – primarily to Humean scholars and contemporary moral and political philosophers, but also to historians of philosophy, and of ideas more generally. Further, this project will be of interest to those moral psychologists engaged in philosophical cross-enquiry.

From 1 October 2012 to 30 September 2014, Dr Greco met on a monthly basis with his mentor, Prof Roger Crisp, and discussed the progress of his work with him.
Clearly significant results, together with progress of the researcher training activities and transfer of knowledge, can be recognised in the following accomplishments:

• presentation of Dr Greco’s work in numerous conferences, workshops, and seminars, in the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world (the summary of progress and details for this task is provided below in Section A, Dissemination Measures);
• publication of Dr Greco’s work in international peer review journals and scholarly publications (the summary of progress and details for this task is provided below in section A, Dissemination Measures);
• development of research activities in the form of network organisation; conferences, seminars, and workshops organisation; participation in conferences, seminars, and workshops (the summary of progress and details for this task is provided below in Section A, Dissemination Measures).

The principal final result of the project is the publication of Dr Greco book manuscript, The Proud Self (provisional title) based on his Marie Curie research project. Dr Greco has already been approached by Oxford University Press and asked to send a draft to them. A central part of Dr Greco’s work is forthcoming as an essay published in the major international journal Journal of the History of Philosophy.