A normative concept is one the application of which implies some prescription or proscription (typically expressible by ‘ought’ or ‘ought not’) or some evaluation (typically expressible by ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘right’ or ‘wrong’). Some sense-based concepts, such as LOUD, BLUE, and CAUSATION, are clearly not normative concepts at all for Hume.1 Others, however, are applied as positive or negative evaluations to at least some degree. The concept HUMOR seems at least mildly normative, insofar as to call something “humorous”—in the modern sense (relatively new in Hume’s time) responsively definable as “such as to inspire mirth, amusement, or laughter”—is at least usually to express a kind of approval of it. The concepts BEAUTY and DEFORMITY are more clearly normative, it is fair to say: almost anything would be understood to be better for being beautiful than not, other things being equal. The concepts VIRTUE and VICE are even more normative-or, one might better say, even more seriously normative. Each of these concepts, however, involves its own distinctive kind of

value or corresponding disvalue-risible, aesthetic, or moral, respectively. In each case, moreover, we may distinguish the concepts that Hume treats as fundamentally normative from those that he treats as derivatively normative. The former are those-such as HUMOR for remarks or other events, BEAUTY and DEFORMITY for objects or events, and VIRTUE and VICE for traits of character or other mental attributes-that he regards as expressing primary values or disvalues that structure an entire normative domain. The latter are those that imply a prescription, proscription, or evaluation that is dependent on a fundamental value or disvalue in some particular way. For example, such concepts as MAN OF

WIT, SKILLFUL ARTIST, or GENEROUS ACTION, all of which he employs, are quite clearly derivatively normative in this manner for him, at least with respect to risible, aesthetic, and moral value, respectively. (While some might regard GENEROUS ACTION as fundamentally normative in the moral domain, Hume holds that actions have moral value only because they are signs of a virtue of character. Because MAN OF WIT and SKILLFUL ARTIST involve mental characteristics of persons, they also have some derivative moral normativity, for Hume.) It is notable that the fundamentally normative concepts in the risible, aesthetic, and moral domains are, for him at least, also directly sense-based. Yet although some normative concepts have their normativity in a

way that is not derived from that of other concepts, part of Hume’s naturalism lies in his general unwillingness to accept any normativity as explanatorily basic tout court: if some things have value of a specific kind, it should be explicable how there is such a kind of value and how things come to be valued in relation it. As it happens, careful attention to his texts suggests, again, four overlapping developmental stages. Commentators have frequently interpreted Hume’s avowed skep-

ticism as requiring that he reject the attribution of any positive epistemic-that is, theoretical truth-or knowledge-related-value to beliefs. If that were so, however, it would call into question not only the propriety of his own praise for scientific discoveries as contrasted with his condemnation of the beliefs of the superstitious, but also the value of his own philosophical enterprise as a contribution to the science of man. If, on the other hand, Hume’s theory of the sense-based character of aesthetic and moral concepts can serve to shed light on his conception of probability, we may also hope that his approach to aesthetic and moral normativity will shed light on his understanding of epistemic normativity.