Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Hume said that reason alone cannot motivate and that passions are required to produce volitions and actions. It is argued that the widely, though not universally, held “Humean” view of motivation—that beliefs require desires to motivate actions—does not accurately reflect Hume’s own view. The author argues here that beliefs, especially beliefs about pleasure, do motivate. But beliefs are produced by probable reasoning. And this seems to imply that reason alone does motivate, i.e., produces, via beliefs, volitions and actions. It is argued that the seeming inconsistency that appears to result is only apparent. An interpretation of what Hume means by “reason alone” is provided.

Keywords: Hume, reason, belief, passions, motivation, will

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.