David Hume A Treatise of Human Nature, (1739) Hume aims to show that philosophical theories that take reason

to be the foundation of morality are wrong.
Every rational creature, ‘tis said, is oblig’d to regulate his actions by reason… On this method of thinking the greatest part of moral philosophy, ancient and modern, seems to be founded…In order to shew the fallacy of all this philosophy, I shall endeavour to prove first, that reason alone can never be a motive to any action of the will; and secondly, that it can never oppose passion in the direction of the will. (2.3.3)

Human Understanding concerns: 1. Relations of Ideas (abstract relations, mathematics, demonstrative reasoning) 2. Matters of Fact (relations of objects known by experience, cause and effect) Reason is the discovery of truth or falsehood. Truth or falsehood consists in an agreement or disagreement either to the real relations of ideas, or to real existence and matter of fact. Demonstrative (deductive) reasoning shows how ideas are logically related. Probabilistic (inductive) reasoning shows how objects are related, as in cause and effect. Passions such as desire and aversion, joy and grief, hope and fear, arise immediately from the presentation of pleasure or pain, good or evil. The basic impulse to avoid or embrace an object or idea arises from the pain or pleasures experienced with regard to that object or idea and by extension to the causes and effects of that object or idea. Reason is employed only in the discovery of these relations and in directing the Will. It is the Passions that stimulate a movement of the Will.

PHL 102 McClellan, 2010

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