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Freedom and Moral Sentiment Hume's Way of Naturalizing Responsibility

by Paul Russell

  • ISBN: 9780195095012
  • ISBN10: 0195095014

Freedom and Moral Sentiment Hume's Way of Naturalizing Responsibility

by Paul Russell

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr on Demand
  • Publish date: 10/01/1995
  • ISBN: 9780195095012
  • ISBN10: 0195095014
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Description: Russell contends that it is the workings of moral sentiment, and not the concept of freedom, that is basic to Hume's account of moral responsibility. The compatibilist strategy that Hume pursues must be interpreted in terms of his detailed description of the circumstances in which people are felt to be responsible. These naturalistic commitments are directly relevant to Hume's complex understanding of how freedom relates to responsibility. It is his view that we must not exaggerate the importance of voluntariness and control for moral responsibility. Hume's naturalism is also essential to his account of the relationship between responsibility and religion. Issues of moral responsibility, Hume maintains, can be understood only within the fabric of human feeling and human society. This perspective on responsibility is central to the philosopher's most basic objective: to secularize our understanding of moral life and practice. The classical reading entirely overlooks Hume's naturalistic concerns and commitments. As Russell demonstrates, however, it is this very aspect that is fundamental to Hume's general strategy and that is of particular significance from a contemporary perspective. The contemporary relevance of Hume's naturalistic approach is examined with P. F. Strawson's influential contribution on this subject especially in view. Freedom and Moral Sentiment addresses issues of wide interest to students and scholars of philosophy, theology, legal theory, and the history of ideas.
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