Hume and humeans on practical reason

Michelle Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Hume and contemporary "Humeans" have had prominent roles in reinvigorating the study of practical reason as a topic in its own right. I introduce a distinction between two divergent trends in the literature on Hume and practical reason. One trend, action-theoretic Humeanism, primarily concerns itself with defending a general account of reasons for acting, often one supposed to establish that moral reasons lack the categorical status the moral rationalist requires them to possess. The other trend, virtue-theoretic Humeanism, concentrates on defending the case for being an agent of a particular practical character, one whose enduring dispositions of practical thought are virtuous. I discuss work exemplifying these two trends and warn against decoupling thought about Hume's and a Humean theory of practical reason from Hume's and a Humean ethics. I conclude that the virtue-theoretic approach is a fruitful one for pursuing future work on Hume and Humeanism about practical reason.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-378
Number of pages32
JournalHume Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2005


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