Type of Document Dissertation Author Fitzpatrick, Mary Beth URN etd-11172003-221154 Title What Moves a Person to Reflect Morally? Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Philosophy, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title peter dalton Committee Chair manny shargel Committee Member russ dancy Committee Member Keywords
- Moral Reflection
- Moral Motivation
- Moral Psychology
- Thomas Hobbes
- David Hume
- Motivation To Reflect Morally
Date of Defense 2003-08-20 Availability unrestricted AbstractWHAT MOVES A PERSON TO REFLECT MORALLY?
We are asking what motivates human beings to reflect morally, which is both a philosophically interesting question and one that would seem necessarily interesting for anyone involved in character education. What motivates us to think about subjects with a moral eye, makes us reason our way to moral clarity, and sustains our efforts until we reach moral judgments. Here, we limit the response to this question to the moral theories of Hobbes and Hume, from which we hope to infer how these two philosophers would have responded to the question themselves.
Hobbes thinks we derive moral standards through reflection on how we ought to live our lives so as to avoid the state of war and achieve a peaceful, comfortable existence in which we may hope for more of the same. Achieving this existence depends on coming to know the means to a state of peace and living according to those means, according to the laws of nature. We discern the means to peace through reasoning driven by desire not for immediate goods but for “long term” goods. The desire necessary to discover moral laws is trained on what is "commonly a good" - on public interest, not on private. The impartial desire necessary to discern and seek such a good is only possible in a quiet mind. Moral reflection is motivated by the desire to know the means to peace driving a quiet mind.
Hume also acknowledges the necessity of moral reflection. Beyond having social and psychological incentives for taking an interest in morality, we are moved to moral reflection by our natural passion for the “good of mankind,” which Hume calls the affection of humanity. This passion moves us to reflect morally only when we are disposed to the attitude which he refers to as the principle of sympathy and are thinking from a general point of view. Sympathy conveys to us the relevant pleasure and pain of others, and the general point of view frees us from self-centeredness. The affection of humanity moves us to moral judgment, approval of what benefits and disapproval of what diminishes humankind
Filename Size Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)
28.8 Modem 56K Modem ISDN (64 Kb) ISDN (128 Kb) Higher-speed Access mbfdissertationfinal.pdf 386.89 Kb 00:01:47 00:00:55 00:00:48 00:00:24 00:00:02