Hume on Sentiments and Reason

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Moral Pages: 4 (1567 words) Published: May 12, 2005
In Appendix I., Concerning Moral Sentiment, David Hume looks to find a place in morality for reason, and sentiment. Through, five principles he ultimately concludes that reason has no place within the concept of morality, but rather is something that can only assist sentiment in matters concerning morality. And while reason can be true or false, those truths or falsities apply to facts, not to morality. He then argues morals are the direct result of sentiment, or the inner feeling within a human being. These sentiments are what intrinsically drive and thus create morality within a being. Sentiments such as beauty, revenge, pleasure, pain, create moral motivation, and action, and are immune to falsity and truth. They are the foundation for which morals are built, and exist themselves apart from any reasoning. Thesis: In moral motivation, the role of sentiment is to drive an intrinsically instilled presence within us to examine what we would deem a moral act or an immoral act, and act accordingly, and accurately upon the sentiments that apply. These sentiments may be assisted by reasons, but the reason alone does not drive us to do what we would feel necessary. They can only guide us towards the final result of moral motivation which (by now it's painfully clear) is sentiment.

Hume gives five considerations to the roles of reason and sentiment within the confines of moral motivation. These considerations are his premises for the final supposition which links sentiment and morality immaculately together, and rejects reason as a plausible explanation form oral motivation. His first consideration allows for reason to be presumed true, as the causation of moral motivation. It follows however that reason "judges either matter of fact or of relations. (Hume 84) When considering the moral crime of ingratitude as Hume does, it seems foolhardy to relate ingratitude with a matter of fact, and when I speak of matter of fact I imply the likes of the geometry,...
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