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Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie

Ed. by de Boer, Karin / Carriero, John / Horn, Christoph / Meyer, Susan Sauvé / Serck-Hanssen, Camilla

Editorial Board: Adamson, Peter / Allen, James V. / Bartuschat, Wolfgang / Curley, Edwin M / Emilsson, Eyjólfur Kjalar / Floyd, Juliet / Förster, Eckart / Frede, Dorothea / Friedman, Michael / Garrett, Don / Grasshoff, Gerd / Guyer, Paul / Irwin, Terence / Kahn, Charles H. / Knuuttila, Simo / Koistinen, Olli / Kosch, Michelle / Kraut, Richard / Longuenesse, Béatrice / McCabe, Mary / Pasnau, Robert / Perler, Dominik / Radcliffe, Elizabeth S. / Reginster, Bernard / Simmons, Alison / Timmermann, Jens / Trifogli, Cecilia / Weidemann, Hermann / Zöller, Günter

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Volume 100, Issue 4


Hume’s (Ad Hoc?) Appeal to the Calm Passions

Hsueh Qu
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore, 3 Arts Link Block AS3 #05–22 117570, Singapore, Singapore
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Published Online: 2018-11-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/agph-2018-4003


Hume argues that whenever we seem to be motivated by reason, there are unnoticed calm passions that play this role instead, a move that is often criticised as ad hoc (e. g. Stroud 1977 and Cohon 2008). In response, some commentators propose a conceptual rather than empirical reading of Hume’s conativist thesis, either as a departure from Hume (Stroud 1977), or as an interpretation or rational reconstruction (Bricke 1996). I argue that conceptual accounts face a dilemma: either they render the conativist thesis trivial, or they violate Hume’s thesis that ‘a priori, any thing may produce any thing’ (THN I defend an empirical construal of Hume’s conativist thesis. I provide two theoretical frameworks within which Hume’s appeal to the calm passions may be justified: first, by the framework of theoretical virtues, and secondly, by lights of his own “rules by which to judge of causes and effects” (THN 1.3.15).

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About the article

Published Online: 2018-11-30

Published in Print: 2018-11-28

Citation Information: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, Volume 100, Issue 4, Pages 444–469, ISSN (Online) 1613-0650, ISSN (Print) 0003-9101, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/agph-2018-4003.

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