The account begins in

Book 1, Part 3, Section 10: 


In a discussion of belief, Hume gives his theory of pain and pleasure:


Pleasure = perception of good


Pain = perception of evil


Impressions and ideas of pain and pleasure both influence the will.



In this section, Hume introduces an important idea that will be important in his moral theory.  That the understanding (imagination) corrects impressions of sense:


‘Tis thus the understanding corrects the appearances of the senses, and makes us imagine, that an object at twenty foot distance seems even to the eye as large as one of the same dimensions at ten.”(T. 








[The Role of Belief in Action]


Book 2, Part 1, Section 1.


In Book 2, Hume replaces the distinction between impressions of sense and impressions of reflection with the more precise distinction between primary and secondary impressions.   Explain the difference. 


Secondary impressions can be calm or violent.


Secondary impressions can be direct or indirect.



















Section 2.  Pride and humility (introduced).


Distinguish cause from object.


What is the object of pride or humility?


What is the cause?


The cause can be divided into two parts:  subject and quality.  Give an example.


Pay attention to the role of belief in pride and humility—that is, the role of reason (not Reason).


For example:  ’Tis impossible that a man can at the same time be both proud and humble.”[T]  This seems to be logical constraint on passions.  Keep track of such any cognitive constraints on passions.














Section 3. 


The causes of pride and humility are natural, but not original. 


By natural, Hume means not learned.  By original, he means primary.  Primary impressions cannot be explained as responses to other perceptions.  They are original.  Secondary impressions can be explained as responses to other perceptions. 


“The principles, from which they arise, are . . . but few and simple . . . .” (T



















Section 4.  The principle of association of passions.


“All resembling passions are connected together, and no sooner one arises than the rest immediately follow.” (T



























Section 5.  The simple account of pride and humility.



The Fourfold Distinction:  Pride/Humility

(1) Cause: (a) Subject [something related to the self] and (b) Quality [something that produces pleasure/pain].

(2) Effect: (a) Object [self] and (b) Sensation [pleasure/pain].



The Double Relation of Ideas and Impressions: 

2(a) corresponds to (1)(a) and 2(b) corresponds to (1)(b).


Any thing, that gives a pleasant sensation, and is related to self, excites the passion of pride, which is also agreeable, and has self for its object.” (T2.1.5.8)
















Section 6.  Qualifications to the Simple Account of Pride and Humility. 



First qualification:  “There is not only a relation requir’d, but a close one, and a closer than is requir’d to joy.” (T


irelated, but also peculiar to ourselves, or at least common to us with a few persons.” (T2.1.6.4)


The example of good health.


Third qualification:  “that the pleasant or painful [subject] be very discernable and obvious, and that not only to ourselves, but to others also.” (T


Fourth qualification:  inconstancy or short duration of the cause (object).


Fifth qualification:  “General rules have a great influence on pride and humility.” (T


Hume’s puzzle:  Proud people are sometimes unhappy and humble people sometimes happy.


Why is this a puzzle?  What is Hume’s solution to it?





Section 7:  Pride and Humility:  Virtue or Vice?


“Humility exalts, but pride mortifies us.” (T


“The very essence of virtue, according to this hypothesis, is to produce pleasure, and that of vice, to give pain.” (T


Key claim:  Virtue excites pride, and vice humility (T



Two puzzles for Hume: 


An Ethical Puzzle:  According to Hume, virtue causes pleasure in us and vice cause pain.  But he also claims that humility is a virtue and pride is a vice.  Since pride causes pleasure, shouldn't it be a virtue?  Since humility causes pain, shouldn't it be a vice?  How would Hume respond?


A Logical Puzzle:  If humility is a virtue, then on Hume's account, humility would make us proud.  If pride is a vice, then on Hume's account pride would make us humble.  Whenever we feel pride or humility, why doesn't that trigger an endless cycle of pride alternating with humility?

How would Hume solve this puzzle?









Non-Cognitivism about the Passions:  The passions have nothing to do with what is true or false.  They are simply blind source of motivation, and thus can never themselves be rational or irrational.


Cognitivism about the Passions:  Whether or not a particular passion is an appropriate one is a fact.  When a passion is appropriate, it is rational; when it is not appropriate, it is irrational.


If you knew nothing else about Hume's account of the passions, would you classify Hume's account of pride and humility as cognitivist or non-cognitivist?















The Importance of the Passions

in Hume's Psychology of the Self




An Addition to Hume's "Bundle" Theory of the Self:  The perceptions include passions that take the self as object.   


Hume’s account of self-concern = the desire for pleasure and to avoid pain in the bundle of perceptions and ideas that that very desire is a part of. 


Question:  Is this an adequate conception of self-concern?