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Spectres of False DivinityHume's Moral Atheism$
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Thomas Holden

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579945

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579945.001.0001

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The Argument from Motivation

The Argument from Motivation

(p.115) 5 The Argument from Motivation
Spectres of False Divinity

Thomas Holden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter documents and examines Hume's argument from motivation to moral atheism. The argument appeals to Hume's account of the passions as the engines of action along with a form of probabilistic reasoning about the likely character of any first cause or ultimate organizing principle responsible for the ordered universe. According to Hume, even though we know nothing positive about the distinctive intrinsic character of the deity, we can judge it highly unlikely that this ultimate being or principle has the sort of anthropomorphic sentimental psychology required to ground any responsiveness to moral concerns.

Keywords:   deity, Hume, motivation, passions, moral atheism, sentimental psychology, sentiments

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