PHIL 437A: Study Questions for Week #7 (Nov. 10-12): Actions and Passions
1. What are the two ways that pain and pleasure can make their appearance in the mind?
2. How is belief able to influence action? Can emotions influence belief?
3. What are the two kinds of impressions of reflection?
4. What is the distinction between direct and indirect passions? Explain it and give examples.
5. What is the difference between the object and the sensation of a passion? What is the distinction between the subject of the cause and the quality of the cause of a passion? For pride and humility identify all four of the following: object, sensation, subject of the cause, quality of the cause?
6. What does Hume mean by a natural cause? What does Hume mean by an original cause? Why does he think that the causes of pride and humility are natural, but at least most of them are not original?
7. What does Hume favor simpler over more complex theories?
8. What are the principles that explain the association of impressions of reflection?
9. What unites the subjects and qualities of pride? What about humility?
10. Explain what Hume means when he says: "From this double relation of ideas and impressions the passion is deriv'd."(T188.8.131.52)
11. A puzzle for Hume's account of pride and humility: For Hume, all that exists are our perceptions and ideas that are derived from them. There are no bodies. But if only our perceptions exist, then everything is related to us, and indeed belongs to us in a very strong sense. So why doesn’t Hume’s account imply that everything that produces pleasure will also produce pride and everything that produces pain will also produce humility? After we understand Hume’s psychology and understand that all that exists are our perceptions and impressions, wouldn’t Hume’s theory then imply that for those of us who agree with Hume’s psychology that everything that produces pleasure will also produce pride and everything that produces pain will also produce humility? Explain.
12. The Puzzle of Guilty Pride. Some people feel ashamed of feeling pride. On Hume’s account, this would involve feeling pain as a result of one’s feeling of pleasure. Is this possible on Hume’s account? Explain.
13. According to Hume, why don't we feel pride in our health? This is just one of the issues that Hume discusses as limitations on his account of pride and humility. Use Hume's discussion of the limitations of his account to raise questions about its adequacy. What has he left out?
14. Why are the proudest men not always the happiest, nor the humble always the most miserable?
15. A logical puzzle about pride and humility. Hume claims that virtue makes us proud and vice makes us humble. But he also claims that humility is a virtue. This would imply that humility would make us proud. Hume also claims that pride is a vice. This would imply that pride would make us humble. Why are these implications troubling? How might Hume solve the puzzle?
16. According to Hume, what is the essence of virtue? What is the essence of vice?
17. A Chicken-Egg Problem: Hume argues that virtue is what produces pleasure and vice is what produces pain. But someone might ask: Is a character trait virtuous because seeing it produces pleasure, or does seeing it produce pleasure because it is recognized to be virtuous. How would Hume answer this question? Why might someone give the other non-Humean answer? Keep this question in mind for our later discussion of Book 3.