Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Susan Feldman

Language

English

Abstract

In this paper, I critique Hume’s sentimentalist theory and propose an expansion of his common point of view in order to escape some of the dangers of meta-ethical relativism. My goal is to revise Hume’s universalism while remaining true to his sentimentalism. In Section 1, I introduce Hume’s theory of sentimentalism and sympathy and the variability problem that arises when our sentiments vary but our moral judgments do not. I explain how Hume invokes the common point of view to resolve this issue. In Section 2, I critique Hume’s response to moral relativism in “A Dialogue,” and argue that he cannot appeal to moral universalism to escape the threats of relativism in his moral theory. Lastly, in Section 3, I introduce a theory of the expanded point of view to provide a more robust response to threats of moral relativism.

COinS