Hume pp 89-110 | Cite as

The Passions

  • Terence Penelhum
Part of the Philosophers in Perspective book series (PHPE)


Everyone who has heard of Hume knows that he says reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions. When this statement is so famous, it is a pity that so little attention is usually paid by Hume’s readers to his detailed account of the passions in the second Book of the Treatise. It is admittedly tedious reading after what has preceded it, mainly because of the prominence in it of his associationist mechanics. But their very prominence is a sign that their inventor thinks he is displaying the constructive power of his psychological system; and an understanding of his account of the passions is essential for a grasp of the moral theory of Book III.


Pleasant Sensation Direct Passion External Thing Primary Passion Psychological Hedonist 
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Notes and References

  1. 15.
    Bernard Williams, ‘Pleasure and Belief, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1959).Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    H.A. Prichard, Moral Obligation (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1949) p. 53.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Terence Penelhum 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terence Penelhum
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CalgaryCanada

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