In his discussion of our idea of time in the Treatise, Hume makes the perplexing claim that unchanging objects cannot be said to endure. While Hume is targeting the Newtonian conception of absolute time, it is not at all clear how his denial that unchanging objects are in time fits with this target. Moreover, Hume diagnoses our belief that unchanging objects endure as the product of a psychological fiction, but his account of this fiction is also riddled with puzzling claims (...) about our experience of unchanging objects. In this paper, we argue that Hume’s claims are a lot less baffling and indeed, much more sophisticated than they appear. We do so by considering his arguments as a response to Locke’s specific approach to the concept of absolute time. (shrink)
En quel sens le scepticisme causal de Hume permet-il la solution qu’il revendique au problème de la liberté et de la nécessité? D’abord, on soutient qu’une interprétation épistémologique (et non sémantique) de ce scepticisme suffit au nécessitarisme proposé. Ensuite, on soutient que, parce qu’il s’accompagne d’une explication naturaliste de l’inférence, ce scepticisme rend raison de l’imputation morale requise par la défense d’un compatibilisme. Le caractère sceptique de ce naturalisme permet de qualifier l’ensemble du propos humien de solution sceptique de réconciliation.
A hipótese do fechamento cognitivo afirma que, devido à organização cognitiva da mente humana, a classe de conceitos acessíveis é limitada e que por consequência deste fato algumas crenças e hipóteses sobre aspectos da realidade terão de estar fora do alcance teórico humano e serão inacessíveis. Neste artigo, analisamos uma interpretação de David Hume, segundo a qual o autor afirmou conjuntamente a tese realista de que poderes causais em objetos existem e a tese cética de que não temos um acesso (...) à natureza destes poderes, sensório ou conceitual. Para tal, contextualizamos o surgimento desta interpretação como uma alternativa aos fracassos da interpretação tradicional de Hume e analisamos individualmente as abordagens realizadas por seus principais defensores. Assim feito, buscamos explorar à luz desta interpretação realista cética a possibilidade da tese de Hume ter antecipado a tese contemporânea do fechamento cognitivo. Acredita-se que essa hipótese implica um desafio tanto a interpretações que enxergam o filósofo como um precedente da filosofia analítica do positivismo lógico quanto a acusações de que fechamento cognitivo é uma tese pós-moderna. (shrink)
Hume y la causalidad contiene un análisis completo y detallado del abordaje de la causalidad en la filosofía de Hume. Tal como Jerónimo Narváez lo demuestra, la filosofía de Hume no desemboca en un callejón sin salida escéptico sino que nos orienta a la consideración de aspectos no racionales que intervienen en la formación de las creencias, hace un aporte a la complejización de la noción de conocimiento y brinda elementos normativos para la evaluación de los diversos tipos de creencias (...) causales. (shrink)
This essay proposes that Hume's non-substantialist bundle account of minds is basically correct. The concept of a person is not a metaphysical notion but a forensic one, that of a being who enters into the moral and normative relations of civil society. A person is a bundle but it is also a structured bundle. Hume's metaphysics of relations is argued must be replaced by a more adequate one such as that of Russell, but beyond that Hume's account is essentially correct. (...) In particular it is argued that it is one's character that constitutes one's identity; and that sympathy and the passions of pride and humility are central in forming and maintaining one's character and one's identity as a person. But also central is one's body: a person is an embodied consciousness: the notion that one's body is essential to one's identity is defended at length. Various concepts of mind and consciousness are examined - for example, neutral monism and intentionality - and also the concept of privacy and our inferences to other minds. (shrink)
In this paper, I will make the case that an associative account of predication in Hume seems to allow for impossible predicative conceptions—that is, the conceiving of impossible states of affairs involving subjects instantiating properties or qualities—which violate his Conceivability Principle. The natural response is to argue that such conceptions are not clear and distinct, but substantive worries are raised about a number of attempted solutions along these lines. This poses a predicament for Hume scholars: either we must modify or (...) abandon the Conceivability Principle, or reject an associative account of predication, or concede that Hume faces a difficulty he cannot solve. (shrink)
According to David Hume values do not belong to the world of facts and cannot be derived from facts. However, Hume’s argument is based on questionable presumptions. His conception of experience as sense perception is erroneous. On contemporary standards it is simply false because sense organs are not channels that passively receive inputs from the world. It is too narrow as it does not take the role of action into account. Further, Hume’s argument is based on the dichotomy between external (...) and internal. Mind is strictly separated from the external world of facts. This entails that experiences, perceptions and ideas do not belong to the world of facts. Causality and values cannot be literally perceived. Therefore they are beyond the scope of empirical knowledge. Hume’s presumptions can be rejected. The consequence is that mind is embodied, and bodies belong to the world of facts. And so do embodied minds. Broadening the notion of experience brings causality and values within the scope of experience. They are experienced on a daily basis in various practices. Values related to vital needs are based on biological facts. More generally, the relation of facts and values can be analyzed if one rejects the hidden causes of perceptions as the object of knowledge. The alternative is the operational conception of knowledge. To know is to know what to do in order to proceed from a problematic situation to future circumstances where the problems are solved. (shrink)
In this paper, I point to two problems engendered by two assumptions that Hume makes. The first is his nominalism: the view that all ideas are fully determinate with respect to all the aspects that are represented in them. The second, perhaps hitherto unnoticed, is that names denote ideas. I propose some solutions, aiming to find one that is Humean.
Este texto sistematiza e reorganiza uma comunicação apresentada em 06 de novembro de 2020 no evento online comemorativo dos 20 anos do Grupo Hume da UFMG, idealizado pela professora Lívia Guimarães, grande incentivadora dos estudos sobre a filosofia de David Hume no Brasil.
En este capítulo sostengo que la filosofía de Hume tiene elementos literarios y que dichos elementos no sólo ilustran o ejemplifican elementos filosóficos, sino que forman parte de la teoría misma; además, que la literatura es una parte integral de su concepción de la filosofía. Lo anterior nos permite justificar la tesis sobre los aspectos literarios de la filosofía de Hume y entender en qué sentido hay un continuo entre ambas. Primero, se ofrece una noción de literatura a partir de (...) la cual se concibe la filosofía racional o cientificista. En seguida, se clarifica la tesis de la filosofía de Hume como literatura y se proporcionan cuatro argumentos como sus- tento de la misma. En tercer lugar, se presenta la estrategia de Bence Nanay para plantear el continuo entre filosofía y literatura. A continuación, se analizan las secciones 3 y 4 de An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding para ex- traer algunos elementos literarios de la filosofía de Hume. Finalmente, se presenta la tesis de la poesía como filosofía, que es abordada por Gustavo Ortiz Millán para reafirmar la tesis de la filosofía de Hume como literatura y el continuo entre filosofía y literatura. (shrink)
How is it possible to have present memory experiences of things that, being past, are no longer presently experienced? A possible answer to this long-standing philosophical question is what I call the “ideality of time view,” namely the view that temporal succession is unreal. In this paper I outline the basic idea behind Brentano’s version of the ideality of time view. Additionally, I contrast it with Hume’s version, suggesting that, despite significant differences, it can nonetheless be construed as broadly Humean.
In the Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume mounts a spirited assault on the doctrine of the infinite divisibility of extension, and he defends in its place the contrary claim that extension is everywhere only finitely divisible. Despite this major departure from the more conventional conceptions of space embodied in traditional geometry, Hume does not endorse any radical reform of geometry. Instead Hume espouses a more conservative approach, claiming that geometry fails only “in this single point” – in its purported (...) proofs of infinite divisibility – while “all of its other arguments” remain intact. -/- In this paper, after laying out the prima facie case for Hume’s radical challenge to traditional geometry, I consider five strategies for blocking the arguments for infinite divisibility while conserving most of geometry. I show that each of these interpretive strategies suffers from serious substantive problems, and so none of them delivers an interpretation of Hume’s account that provides him with a way of blocking the geometric arguments for infinite divisibility while sustaining his geometric conservatism. (shrink)
I argue that Hume’s philosophy of time is relationist in the following two senses. 1) Standard definition of relationism. Time is a succession of indivisible moments. Hence there is no time independent of change. Time is a relational, not substantial feature of the world. 2) Rigid relationism. There is no evidence of uniform natural standard for synchronization of clocks. No absolute temporal metric is available. There are countless times, and no time is privileged. Combining 1) and 2) shows that Hume’s (...) ontology of time is thoroughly relationist. (shrink)
Self-consciousness can be understood as the ability to think I-thou-ghts which can be described as thoughts about oneself ‘as oneself’. Self-consciousness possesses two specific correlated features: the first regards the fact that it is grounded on a first-person perspective, whereas the second concerns the fact that it should be considered a consciousness of the self as subject rather than a consciousness of the self as object. The aim of this paper is to analyse a few considerations about Descartes and Hume’s (...) approaches to self-consciousness, as both philosophers introduce a first-personal method of accessing the subjective dimension through an introspective account. Descartes’s view on self-consciousness seems incapable of conceiving and recognizing herself as herself, while Hume’s seems to lack those features assigned to the consciousness of self-as-subject. (shrink)
David Hume’un Doğal Din Üzerine Diyaloglar kitabı, başlığının da ima ettiği gibi, vahiy metinlerine başvurmadan Tanrı’nın varlığına ve niteliklerine ulaşılıp ulaşılamayacağını araştıran bir metindir. Metin boyunca, felsefe tarihinde de gördüğümüz, iki ana yaklaşımı temsil eden iki temel argüman sunulur. Bunlardan ilki, a priori yaklaşımı temsil eden kozmolojik argümandır. Diğeri ise, a posteriori yaklaşımı temsi eden zeki tasarım argümanıdır. Bu yazıda, Hume’un, diyalogdaki Philo karakteri üzerinden ortaya koyduğu, kozmolojik argümana yönelik eleştirileri ele alınıp, böyle bir argümanın neden Tanrı’nın varlığı ve nitelikleri (...) konusunda bizi bir sonuca ulaştırmayacağı ortaya konmuştur. (shrink)
Hume’s Critique of Religion is a valuable and rewarding contribution to Hume scholarship. The atheistic interpretation that the authors defend is well supported and convincingly argued. Although Gaskin’s Hume’s Philosophy of Religion is (rightly) highly regarded, I believe that Bailey and O’Brien provide a more compelling and convincing interpretation. Their account is, in particular, much stronger in respect of the historical background and contextual considerations that they draw on to support of their interpretation. These historical advances are achieved without weakening (...) the care and attention that is given to Hume’s philosophical arguments. Students and more advanced scholars alike will find this study highly illuminating and instructive. It deserves to be widely read and carefully considered. -/- . (shrink)
This thesis investigates Hume’s philosophy of external existence in relation to, and within the context of, his philosophy of scepticism. In his two main works on metaphysics – A Treatise of Human Nature (1739–40) and the first Enquiry (first ed. 1748) – Hume encounters a predicament pertaining to the unreflective, ‘vulgar’ attribution of external existence to mental perceptions and the ‘philosophical’ distinction between perceptions and objects. I argue that we should understand this predicament as follows: the vulgar opinion is our (...) natural and default belief for Hume, but causal reasoning reveals it to be false, and the philosophical alternative is a confabulation that we cannot permanently believe and is devoid of justification. Hume uses the fact that we cannot have a satisfactory account of belief in external existence as a sceptical consideration to motivate his wider philosophical scepticism. Hume’s response to his predicament about external existence is found in the context of his confrontation with other sceptical worries (Treatise 1.4.7 and Enquiry 12), in which Hume also reflects generally on the nature and implications of scepticism. I argue that we should characterise Hume’s position as residually sceptical. This means that, while Hume accepts the unanswerability of some sceptical problems, he denies that it is possible to eradicate all belief as a result (and denies that it is practically useful to even try) and instead uses sceptical problems as a motivation to adopt a moderately sceptical position. While we inevitably return to entertaining the vulgar belief, there is no solution to the sceptical predicament; Hume does not endorse the vulgar belief, or the philosophical system, or indeed any alternative system of the external world that might extinguish the predicament. Sceptical doubt, for Hume, does not derail intellectual pursuits, but rather modifies our attitudes in those very pursuits. (shrink)
A regularity theory of causation analyses type-level causation in terms of Boolean difference-making. The essential ingredient that helps this theoretical framework overcome the problems of Hume’s and Mill’s classical accounts is a principle of non-redundancy: only Boolean dependency structures from which no elements can be eliminated track causation. The first part of this paper argues that the recent regularity theoretic literature has not consistently implemented this principle, for it disregarded an important type of redundancies: structural redundancies. Moreover, it is shown (...) that a regularity theory needs to be underwritten by a hitherto neglected metaphysical background assumption stipulating that the world's causal makeup is not ambiguous. Against that background, the second part then develops a new regularity theory that does justice to all types of redundancies and, thereby, provides the first all-inclusive notion of Boolean difference-making. (shrink)
The main goal of Kant’s Second Analogy of Experience was to answer Humean objectionsconcerning the aprioricity of the principle of “every-event-some-cause”. This paper intendsto suggest an interpretation of the Kantian argument that, even though cannot show thatHume should be satisfied with the answer, makes clear Kant’s reasons for that anti-Humeangoal. In the first part of this paper, I intend to discuss summarily Hume’s objection againstthe possibility of a demonstration of the principle “every-event-some-cause” and his thesisconcerning its validity. In the second (...) part, it is the turn of the Kantian answer to thesame question concerning the validity of the principle of “every-event-some-cause”. (shrink)
Este trabalho é uma investigação sobre os conceitos de espaço presentes tanto no livro IV da Física de Aristóteles, bem como no Livro 1, parte 2, do Tratado da Natureza Humana de David Hume. Nosso ponto de partida são os paradoxos de Zenão. Sabemos que Aristóteles debate diretamente com Zenão no livro IV da Física, enquanto Hume, no Tratado da Natureza Humana discute com a posição de Zenão acerca do espaço renovada por Bayle. Tendo isto em vista, o principal objetivo (...) deste trabalho é o de expor como Aristóteles enfrenta o paradoxo proposto por Zenão acerca do lugar, e como Hume enfrentou o paradoxo proposto por Bayle sobre a constituição do espaço, através de uma apropriação do método de Zenão. (shrink)
Kant's answer to Hume is seen to comprise the following: agreement with Hume that causal connection cannot be inferred from experience; moving beyond Hume in making causal conceptions presuppositions of experience ; distinguishing causality from other, more basic presuppositions of experience . Not only is causality a Verknuepfung, rather than a Bedingung, thereby relegating it to a lower level of generality, but its presence in the table of categories simply signifies the possibility of its application at any time, not the (...) necessity for a universally valid interpretation of temporal succession as given in the manifold, a specification that is only introduced after the schematism, in the Analogies of experience. Furthermore, unlike e.g. the transcendental unity of apperception, cause involves regulative, not constitutive principles. Failure to recognize all of this has created unnecessary controversy concerning the relative merits of Kant's response to the problem of justifying induction. (shrink)
In this volume--the first, focused study of Hume on time and identity--Baxter focuses on Hume’s treatment of the concept of numerical identity, which is central to Hume's famous discussions of the external world and personal identity. Hume raises a long unappreciated, and still unresolved, difficulty with the concept of identity: how to represent something as "a medium betwixt unity and number." Superficial resemblance to Frege’s famous puzzle has kept the difficulty in the shadows. Hume’s way of addressing it makes sense (...) only in the context of his unorthodox theory of time. Baxter shows the defensibility of that theory against past dismissive interpretations, especially of Hume’s stance on infinite divisibility. Later the author shows how the difficulty underlies Hume’s later worries about his theory of personal identity, in a new reading motivated by Hume’s important appeals to consciousness. Baxter casts Hume throughout as an acute metaphysician, and reconciles this side of Hume with his overarching Pyrrhonian skepticism. (shrink)
This paper sets up and then solves a puzzle for the sceptical realist interpretation of Hume. The puzzle takes off when the sceptical realist attributes to Hume the following metaphysical theses: Causal powers grounding necessary connections in nature exist. Causal powers grounding necessary connections in nature are what make things happen.It then attributes an epistemological thesis to him: We have no knowledge of causal powers in nature nor of the necessary connections in nature which these powers ground.But putting these three (...) theses together seems to yield a problematic result. The epistemological thesis seems to have two corollaries as its upshot. We cannot know that causal powers grounding necessary connections in nature exist. We cannot know that causal powers grounding necessary connections in nature are what make things happen.That is, we cannot know and. New Hume’s position, the sceptical realist interpretation, seems to make Hume out to be arguing for a view that is self-undermining or dialectically unstable by his own empiricist lights. I argue that there is an overlooked externalist dimension to Hume’s epistemology and draw on this to solve the puzzle. (shrink)
Acceptance of Humean Supervenience and thereductive Humean analyses that entail it leadsto a litany of inadequately explained conflictswith our intuitions regarding laws andpossibilities. However, the non-reductiveHumeanism developed here, on which law claimsare understood as normative rather than factstating, can accommodate those intuitions. Rational constraints on such norms provide aset of consistency relations that ground asemantics formulated in terms offactual-normative worlds, solving theFrege-Geach problem of construing unassertedcontexts. This set of factual-normative worldsincludes exactly the intuitive sets ofnomologically possible worlds associated witheach possible (...) set of laws. The extension ofthe semantics to counterfactual and subjunctiveconditionals is sketched. Potential objectionsinvolving subjectivity, mind-dependence, andnon-factuality are discussed. (shrink)
It has been argued that Hume’s denial of infinite divisibility entails the falsity of most of the familiar theorems of Euclidean geometry, including the Pythagorean theorem and the bisection theorem. I argue that Hume’s thesis that there are indivisibles is not incompatible with the Pythagorean theorem and other central theorems of Euclidean geometry, but only with those theorems that deal with matters of minuteness. The key to understanding Hume’s view of geometry is the distinction he draws between a precise and (...) an imprecise standard of equality in extension. Hume’s project is different from the attempt made by Berkeley in some of his later writings to save Euclidean geometry. Unlike Berkeley, who interprets the theorems of Euclidean geometry as false albeit useful approximations of geometrical facts, Hume is able to save most of the central theorems as true. (shrink)
Kenneth Clatterbaugh has written a valuable exposition and discussion of a century of upheaval in metaphysics and natural philosophy, tracing the gutting and reworking of Aristotelian causality from its uncomfortable scholastic context into a leaner and meaner instrument of secularized scientific explanation. The book examines key figures directly, evaluates prominent interpretations from the recent literature, and also puts Clatterbaugh’s own useful and definite stamp on the story. This includes the usual philosophical suspects—Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume—and their weighty philosophical interlocutors (...) and followers like Hobbes, Gassendi, Malebranche, Spinoza, and Anthony Legrand. Then, on the more narrowly scientific side, there are Boyle, Rohault, and Newton. (shrink)
David Hume has traditionally been assumed to be a soft determinist or compatibilist, at least in the ‘reconciling project’ that he presents in Section 8 of the first Enquiry, entitled ‘Of liberty and necessity.’ Indeed, in encyclopedias and textbooks of Philosophy he is standardly taken to be one of the paradigm compatibilists, rivalled in significance only by Hobbes within the tradition passed down through Locke, Mill, Schlick and Ayer to recent writers such as Dennett and Frankfurt. Many Hume scholars also (...) concur in viewing him as a determinist, for example Norman Kemp Smith, Barry Stroud, A. J. Ayer, Paul Russell Don Garrett, Terence Penelhum, George Botterill, John Bricke, and John Wright. My main purpose in this paper will be to provide the evidence to substantiate this traditional interpretation, which has hitherto been widely assumed rather than defended. In the absence of such a defence, the consensus has been left open to challenge, most notably in a recent paper and a subsequent book by James Harris, who boldly claims that Hume ‘does not subscribe to determinism of any kind, whether Hobbesian or merely nomological.’. (shrink)
This book addresses one of the fundamental topics in philosophy: the relation between appearance and reality. John Yolton draws on a rich combination of historical and contemporary material, ranging from the early modern period to present-day debates, to examine this central philosophical preoccupation, which he presents in terms of distinctions between phenomena and causes, causes and meaning, and persons and man. He explores in detail how Locke, Berkeley and Hume talk of appearances and their relation to reality, and offers illuminating (...) connections and comparisons with the work of contemporary philosophers such as Paul Churchland and John McDowell. He concludes by offering his own proposal for a 'realism of appearances', which incorporates elements of both Humean and Kantian thinking. His important study will be of interest to a wide range of readers in the history of philosophy, the history of ideas, and contemporary philosophy of mind, epistemology and metaphysics. (shrink)
Hume is traditionally credited with inventing the ‘regularity theory’ of causation, according to which the causal relation between two events consists merely in the fact that events of the first kind are always followed by events of the second kind. Hume is also traditionally credited with two other, hugely influential positions: the view that the world appears to us as a world of unconnected events, and inductive scepticism: the view that the ‘problem of induction’, the problem of providing a justification (...) for inference from observed to unobserved regularities, is insoluble. Hume on Causation is the first major work dedicated to Hume’s views on causation in over fifteen years, and it argues that Hume does not subscribe to any of these three views. It places Hume’s interest in causation within the context of his theory of the mind and his theory of causal reasoning, arguing that Hume’s conception of causation derives from his conception of the nature of the inference from causes to effects. (shrink)