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Reid's moral psychology: animal motives as guides to virtue

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Esther Kroeker*
Affiliation:
University of Antwerp, Center for Ethics, Stadscampus, Grote Kauwenberg 18, 2000 Antwerpen

Abstract

My aim in this paper is to show that animal motives play an important role in guiding human agents to virtue, according to Reid. Animal motives, for Reid, are constituted of desires and of their objects. These desires are intrinsic desires for objects other than moral or prudential worth. However, from a rational and moral point of view, animal motives are good and useful parts of the human constitution that lead to happiness, teach self-government, create the habit of acting virtuously, and add force to rational motives. Understanding animal motives as guides to virtue provides Reid with the hybrid sentimentalist/rationalist account he seeks to offer.

Type
Moral Theory
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 2011

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References

Cuneo, Terence 2006. “Signs of Value: Reid on the Evidential Role of Feelings in Moral Judgment.British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (1): 6991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kroeker, Esther 2013. “Acting from a Good Conscience: Reid, Love, and Moral Worth.History of Philosophy Quarterly 30 (4): 333348.Google Scholar
Lehrer, Keith 1989. Thomas Reid. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Reid, Thomas 2010. Essays on the Active Powers of Man, edited by Knud Haakonssen, and James Harris. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
Roeser, Sabine 2009. “Reid and Moral Emotions.Journal of Scottish Philosophy 7 (2): 177192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rowe, William 1991. Thomas Reid on Freedom and Morality. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yaffe, Gideon 2004. Manifest Activity. Thomas Reid's Theory of Action. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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