THE HUMEAN APPROACH TO MORAL DIVERSITY

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Abstract

In ‘A Dialogue’, Hume offers an important reply to the moral skeptic. Skeptics traditionally point to instances of moral diversity in support of the claim that our core values are fixed by enculturation. Hume argues that the skeptic exaggerates the amount of variation in moral codes, however, and fails to adopt an indulgent stance toward attitudes different from ours. Hume proposes a charitable interpretation of moral disagreement, moreover, which traces it back to shared principles of human nature. Contemporary philosophers attempt to locate examples of moral variability that cannot be accommodated in this way. But they are no more successful than their predecessors. Moral skeptics have not found a single case of moral diversity that is resistant to the Humean strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Scottish Philosophy
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Edinburgh University Press.

Keywords

  • Hume
  • honor cultures
  • moral disagreement
  • pluralism
  • skepticism

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