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Publication Details

Understanding Rationality in Hobbes and Hume

(Original title: Understanding Rationality in Hobbes and Hume)
Filozofia, 69 (2014), 8, 687-696.
Type of work: Papers
Publication language: English

Many commentators think that Hobbes was committed to an instrumental view of rationality which foreshadows that of David Hume. The Humean conception of instru- mental rationality is a conjunction of the following two claims: (a) no preferences or desires can properly be said to be irrational in themselves, and (b) the role of reason or rationality can only be confined to informing the agent with true beliefs about the world, and revealing the most effective means that could satisfy the agent’s current ends whatever they happen to be. In this paper, I argue that, unlike what many people think, a careful reading of Hobbes shows that he was committed to neither of these claims.


Hobbes, Hume, Instrumental rationality, Practical rationality, The Humean view of rationality

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