Tutor HuntQuestions

Tutor Hunt Questions

So Hume says our feelings and desires are objective as they are given to us by nature however if they are objective does this entail that there are moral truths? this is confusing because I thought you was a noncognitivist.
6 years ago

Philosophy Question asked by

Know the Answer?

Please enter your response to the question below. The student will get a notification as soon your response has been approved by our moderation team.

Submit Answer

3 Answers

We can look at Hume`s statement in two ways First, the word `objective` as an adjective suggests that feelings and desires are not susceptible to change, that they are fixed. This does not seem to exist in reality because we respond to what we experience around us, which can be positive or negative. This denotes our feeling as subjective and can change at any time. In this case, the issue of stimuli comes in to play and our response to stimuli leads to our action.
On the other hand, using the word `objective` in a noun form for our desires could mean what our end in view is. That is, what our aspirations are and in this case, it is what someone counts as being factual and wants to bring into existence.
Regarding moral truths, this is subjective and not objective because it depends on the ontological position of someone. That is, how I see truth as truth will differ from how someone else sees truth.
Answered by [Deleted Member]
+ 1    Rate Up  Rate Down     

Hume`s philosophy revolves around the question of what it means to know or understand something. Where the empiricism of Locke prioritises the role of experience and observation as the basis of understanding and `knowledge`, Hume`s scepticism leads him to question how sound such a position is. Hume argues, that however many times actions take place in an immediate sequence you are unable to claim that one action is a consequence of another. (He does recognise that we can only survive if we behave as if they are).

So what does Hume mean when he talks about our feelings and desires as objective because they are given to us by nature? Only that our feelings and desires are immediate, intimate and mediated by nothing. We feel hunger, lust, anger, disgust - we can say we are hungry, angry, lustful or disgusted. (This is before Freud confuses removes even that certainty.) `Nature` in this context just is. For Hume, it is not conscious or moral or another name for God and so does not bring with it or imply any claim to being a source of moral truth.


Answered by [Deleted Member]
+ 1    Rate Up  Rate Down     

No because feelings and desires are not universally shared. Moral truths could only be a consequence of Hume`s supposition if all human beings shared the same natural goals. Moral relativism is the logical consequence of each human being acting upon their own desires, but of these desires lacking consistency between individuals or societies.
Answered by [Deleted Member]
    Rate Up  Rate Down