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


"This research project aims at presenting the moral philosophy of David Hume as an original Ethics of Virtue, in line with the Virtue Ethics tradition, to be presented as a promising theoretical alternative within present-day ethical debate. Hume’s ethical thought has been an ongoing source of inspiration for many, but it has been interpreted in different, often conflicting ways. This research project will read it as the clearest and most convincing form of sentimentalism, i.e. the stance whereby the sphere of ethics can be completely explained and justified by a methodical enquiry into the sentiments and passions of human nature, and not by making reference to reason, or to an external moral reality. Through an interdisciplinary enquiry which combines together an extensive study of Hume texts, a careful examination of the secondary literature by Hume scholars, and a strict discussion of the latest advancements in contemporary moral philosophy, Hume’s sentimentalism will be presented as an account of morality in terms of the capacity of passionally defined agents to put their moral sentiments under reflective scrutiny. An investigation of Hume’s ethical solutions in the light of sentimentalism, read in a reflective light, is an interesting theoretical platform from which to deepen our knowledge of Hume, and address in a brand-new and systematic way some central themes in contemporary moral philosophy regarding the nature of normativity, its relation to people’s motivation, and the structure of people’s characters considered as virtuous agents."

Call for proposal

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Wellington Square University Offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 270 145,80
Administrative Contact
Gill Wells (Ms.)