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Is reason the slave of the passions? Discuss and give your opinion.

Topic : Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6. Is reason the slave of the passions? Discuss and give your opinion. (250 words)


Why the question:

The question is quotation based.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way reason the slave of the passions, discuss the quote and give your opinion.


Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:


Explain the meaning of the quote.


Hume’s position in ethics, which is based on his empiricist theory of the mind, is best known for asserting four theses: (1) Reason alone cannot be a motive to the will, but rather is the “slave of the passions” (2) Moral distinctions are not derived from reason.

Discuss the concept Passion vs. Reason.

Turn to Hume’s famous dictum that “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.” It implies that reason’s role in guiding actions is, and ought to be, limited to its utility in aiding the fulfillment of desire.


Conclude with importance.