Thesis ID: CBB001561316

Thomas Reid: Motives and the Anatomy of the Mind (2007)


Kroeker, Esther (Author)

University of Southern California
Yaffe, Gideon

Publication Date: 2007
Edition Details: Advisor: Yaffe, Gideon
Physical Details: 361 pp.
Language: English

For Thomas Reid the careful study of the human mind, the anatomy of the mind, involves the study of all the operations and faculties of the mind. So far, most of the literature on Reid has focused on perception, the principles of common sense, and Reid's account of active power or moral liberty. In my dissertation, therefore, I examine Reid's account of motives or principles of action and their relation to the different faculties of the mind and I situate and evaluate it in the context of 18 th century moral philosophy. The first two chapters deal with the nature of the different kinds of motives. In the first chapter I try to understand the difference between Reid's animal and rational motives. I argue that rational judgments require intention, will and judgments, not only about present objects but also about ends that we naturally value. In the second chapter I argue that there is a difference between Hume's calm passions and Reid's rational motives since for Reid the mere conception of some end, without any feeling necessarily associated, is a desire or principle of action. In the third chapter, I examine the relation between active power, reason and the moral sense. I show that active power implies having reasoning abilities. However, having active power and hence reasoning abilities does not imply that one has a functioning moral sense. The next two chapters deal with the relation between principles of action and moral liberty. In chapter four, I examine two arguments Reid uses to argue that motives function as advice and not as necessary causes. In chapter five, I defend and evaluate Reid's possible answer to the problem of explaining the agent's choice between motives. I argue, in chapter six, that Reid is more truly a moral sense theorist than his predecessors. In chapter seven, I show that moral perception involves the three different kinds of natural signs and hence it involves but cannot be reduced to perception by our external senses. I conclude by examining how motives are related to the self as a whole.


Description Cited in Diss. Abstr. Int. A 69/01 (2008). Pub. no. AAT 3291856.

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Authors & Contributors
Frierson, Patrick
Bow, Charles Bradford
Bolender, John
Avramides, Anita
Klemme, Heiner F.
Copenhaver, Rebecca
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Biology and Philosophy
History of Philosophy Quarterly
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
History of Psychiatry
Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology
Cambridge University Press
Pennsylvania State University Press
Rutgers University
Ohio State University
Philosophy of mind
Moral philosophy
Reid, Thomas
Descartes, René
Kant, Immanuel
Locke, John
Stewart, Dugald
Hume, David
Great Britain
18th century
17th century
19th century
20th century
20th century, late

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