Passion In David Hume's Philosophy Of Reason And Passion

937 Words 4 Pages
Hume attacks the prevailing mindset in philosophy of placing reason over passion. He wants to show us that reason alone cannot be a motive for action and that passion must be considered. In the following essay, I will be exploring the relationship between reason and passion in Hume’s moral psychology, assessing his theory and presenting reasons as to why I find his account convincing.

Hume’s stated that morality can be found within. He explains that when we observe an action, the action alone doesn’t reflect meaning but that meaning is suggested through the sense perceptions of the inner world. “Only when you turn your reflection into your own breast, and find a sentiment of disapprobation” (Hume, 1738) can morality be found. In Hume’s view,
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Passion exists originally, without any reference to an object. Thereby passions cannot be contradictory to reason, since contradiction exists in the different ideas and objects that the passion represents. This further implies that passion can seem to be opposed to reason when it is found on certain opinion or judgement. Hume states that the two instances whereby passion may seem unreasonable is if it is founded on objects that don’t exist or when influenced to act upon fails to meet the required end. But in both instances, it isn’t the passion that is unreasonable but judgement or opinion that accompanies it. As Hume remarks, that it is "not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger" (T 2.3.3, p. 416). Further reiterating that passion and reason are never in opposition. Passion may be informed by reason, but reason is and appears to be the ‘slave’ of the …show more content…
His insight was informed by clinical trials in the early 1990s whereby patients with impaired emotional capacities were studied. He could find that they seemed normal except that they were unable to make decisions, even simple decisions such as what to eat. They found it hard to decide considering the many pros and cons. As it appears that the data required to make a rational decision appears to be infinite. This shows that even what we believe are logical decisions are based of emotion. It is also observable that convincing and negotiating is largely done by appealing to people’s emotions rather than

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