Posted: October 27th, 2022

Subjectivism in Ethics


Consider this passage from the Scottish philosopher, David Hume (from A Treatise of Human Nature, 1740):

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Take any action allowed to be vicious: Willful murder, for instance. Examine it in all lights, and see if you can find that matter of fact, or real existence, which you call vice. In whichever way you take it, you find only certain passions, motives, volitions and thoughts. There is no other matter of fact in the case. The vice entirely escapes you, as long as you consider the object. You never can find it, till you turn your reflection into your own breast, and find a sentiment of disapprobation, which arises in you, towards this action. Here is a matter of fact; but it is the object of feeling, not of reason.

What do you think Hume is saying here? Do you agree or disagree? Can you come up with a moral issue that might fit Hume’s position? (You can use something from Rachels.) How does Hume’s position relate to “The Denial of Values” or “Nihilism” as described in the chapter?

500 words / keep it simple only opinions no citations 

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