[SydPhil] USyd Postgrad Colloquium September 1: Gabriel Watts: 'Hume's Copernican Revolution in Morals'

Elena Walsh elenawalsh at gmail.com
Fri Aug 29 23:36:25 AEST 2014

Dear all,

The next USyd philosophy postgraduate colloquium will be held on Monday
September 1 @ 2pm in the Muniment room (Quadrangle building, University of
Sydney).  We will have an afternoon tea straight after the talk.  All very

Talk details:

Speaker:  Gabriel Watts

Title:  Hume’s Copernican Revolution in Morals
When setting out his account of the passions of pride and humility in the
Treatise David Hume compares his discoveries to a Copernican revolution in
morals. Yet while this lets us know that Hume thought his account of pride
and humility was radically new, its precise Copernican nature remains
opaque. Here I argue that Hume’s theory is a Copernican shift in moral
philosophy insofar as pride and humility are analysed as ‘indirect
passions’. Hume cryptically describes ‘indirect passions’ as those passions
that “proceed from the same principles” as the ‘direct passions’ (i.e.
desires), but require “the conjunction of other qualities” as well. Here I
put this understanding of the indirect passions in the context of Hume’s
account of causation and show how it enables him to dissociate the causal
explanation of pride and humility from the attribution of these passions to
rational agents.
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