Constancy and the calm passions in Hume's 'Treatise'
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The 'prevalence of the calm passions over the violent' is Hume's general formula for both virtue and happiness. I argue in this dissertation that Hume's detailed account of the causes and effects of the relative calmness and strength of motivating passions in Treatise 2.3 is a main goal of Hume's project in the Treatise, Books I and II, and the reason why he published them together in 1739 as a "compleat chain of reasoning by themselves." However, despite widespread recognition of the general importance of this doctrine to Hume's 'science of man', no adequate attempt has been made to investigate those sections of Treatise 2.3 which bear directly on a deeper understanding of the causes of this 'prevalence of the calm passions'. Such attention is particularly warranted because, as I argue, these sections of the Treatise constitute Hume's attempt at an 'anatomy' of deliberation which accounts for the principles of human nature by which we successfully regulate our conduct and remain constant in pursuit of our long-term greater good. However, these sections also give rise to interpretative challenges that threaten the coherence of this central doctrine. Accordingly, my aim in this dissertation is to analyze Hume's anatomy of deliberation and of the prevalence of calm passions in Treatise 2.3 and to work through the interpretative difficulties it poses. I present a novel resolution of these interpretative problems which calls attention to the importance both of Hume's Treatise, Book I account of causal belief and of his neglected account of the influence of the passions on the imagination and understanding for his theory of motivation. I demonstrate that it is only when we attend to these key features of Hume's account of human nature that we can appreciate the coherent Humean theory of prudential motivation that emerges from Treatise 2.3.