Philosophy Colloquium: Rachel Cohon


Fri, 12/06/2019 - 15:00 to 17:00

The Fall 2019 Philosophy Colloquium Series presents Rachel Cohon (University of Albany, SUNY). 

Title: How Hume's Origin Story of Some of the Artificial Virtues May Rely on Gossip

Gossip, talking behind people’s backs, tale-carrying, and the like are popular activities in all human societies, yet in the cultures with which we are most familiar they are considered undignified at best, and at worst morally wrong. I briefly explore some of the conceptual and ethical complexities of gossip. Then I argue that for Hume, gossip plays an unexpected but necessary role in making possible a certain set of virtues, a subset of those that (on Hume’s view) people cooperatively invented by developing social conventions. Hume does not use the word ‘gossip’ in his Treatise of Human Nature, yet if I am right it operates powerfully between the lines in his account of morality there.


Location: Maloney Seminar Room, Social Sciences 224.

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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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