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Barry Stroud

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608591

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608591.001.0001

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The Study of Human Nature and the Subjectivity of Value

The Study of Human Nature and the Subjectivity of Value

The Tanner Lectures on Human Values

Delivered at The University of Buenos Aires June 7, 1988

(p.65) 4 The Study of Human Nature and the Subjectivity of Value
Philosophers Past and Present

Barry Stroud

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes and explores some of the apparent consequences for the understanding of human evaluative thought of the Enlightenment conception of a ‘science of human nature’ as Hume understands it. It discusses the parallel, explicitly drawn by Hume, between the subjectivity of values and the traditional doctrine of secondary qualities, and suggests in each case how attachment to a fully naturalistic science of human nature can make acceptance of both those views seem unavoidable. That would leave us at best with a conception of a colourless, value-free world on to which we merely ‘project’ whatever colours and feelings we find in our immediate experience as we respond to what that independent world presents us with.

Keywords:   human evaluative thought, Hume, values, secondary qualities, sensory experience

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