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Philosophy Colloquium  

Friday, March 17, 2017

3:00pm in Mackinac Hall BLL-110 (Basement)

Ryan Pollock

(Grand Valley University)

 

  Talk is entitled:

Hume's Delicate Taste in Military Heroism

 

Abstract:

 

 Hume's Treatise discussion of the military hero, whose exploits capture the public's awe while simultaneously causing widespread social destruction, has garnered varied responses from commentators. Some read Hume as condemning the military hero's magnanimity as a harmful vice. Others argue that Hume did not, or even could not, make such a criticism. In this paper, I offer a more nuanced interpretation of Hume's comments on military heroism. I hold that, while the general approbation of military heroism qualifies it as a virtue within Hume's moral theory, Hume has an additional explanation of why we should prefer to be the sort of spectator who offers a more subdued evaluation of this trait. I explain this point through analogy with Hume's criticism of the "sensible knave" and argue that my interpretation provides the outlines of what moral progress would look like within Hume's moral theory.

 

Contact:

Questions? Contact Andrew Spear: speara@gvsu.edu