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Summary

Hume approaches topics in metaphysics and epistemology via his theory of ideas and the cognitive faculties. In metaphysics, his primary interest is in questions not of the form ‘What is X?’ but of the form ‘What can we conceive X to be?’ His best-known contribution is his argument that causation, as far as we can conceive it, is just regular succession among objects or events, plus our habit of inferring one object or event from another. He also made important contributions concerning space and time, existence, identity, substances, and free will. In epistemology, his primary interest is in questions of the form ‘Which of our cognitive faculties is responsible for our belief in X?’ His best-known contribution is his argument that habit, not reason, engages us to suppose that unobserved events will resemble observed ones (a view concerning what philosophers now call induction). He also made important contributions concerning the distinction between the a priori and the a posteriori, belief in the external world, and religious belief.

Key works

Books that discuss Hume's views about a range of topics in metaphysics and epistemology (construed broadly, so as to include philosophy of mind, action and language) include Stroud 1977Garrett 1997 and Allison 2008Fogelin 1985 and Loeb 2002 are devoted to his epistemology. For three different approaches to his theory of causation, see Blackburn 1990, Kail 2007 and Millican 2009. For two different approaches to his argument about induction, see Owen 1999 and Peter Millican's article 'Hume's Sceptical Doubts Concerning Induction,' in Millican 2001.

Introductions

Three introductory books that take quite different approaches to Hume's metaphysics and epistemology are Ayer 1980Blackburn 2008 and Wright 2009Norton & Taylor 2006 contains helpful introductory articles on Hume's views about several topics in metaphysics and epistemology.

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  1. The developmental potential of the human mind: Hume on children and the formation of fiction.Elena Gordon - 2022 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (1):58-78.
    Fictions feature prominently in several of Hume’s important arguments about the external world. For example, Hume is clear that there would be no belief in the continued existence of objects, were it not for the fictions that are causally responsible for effecting this belief. Interpreters of Hume on the topic of fiction generally argue that the formation of fiction requires the possession of general ideas and the use of language. Drawing upon recent attempts in the literature to advance this claim, (...)
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  2. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature.Angela M. Coventry (ed.) - forthcoming - Broadview Press.
    In his autobiography, David Hume famously noted that A Treatise of Human Nature “fell dead-born from the press.” Yet it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophical works written in the English language. Within, Hume offers an empirically informed account of human nature, addressing a range of topics such as space, time, causality, the external world, personal identity, passions, freedom, necessity, virtue, and vice. This edition includes not only the full text of the Treatise but also Hume’s (...)
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  3. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature.Angela M. Coventry - forthcoming - Broadview Press.
    In his autobiography, David Hume famously noted that A Treatise of Human Nature “fell dead-born from the press.” Yet it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophical works written in the English language. Within, Hume offers an empirically informed account of human nature, addressing a range of topics such as space, time, causality, the external world, personal identity, passions, freedom, necessity, virtue, and vice. This edition includes not only the full text of the Treatise but also Hume’s (...)
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  4. Interrupting Kant’s Dogmatic Slumber.Katherine Dunlop - 2022 - Con-Textos Kantianos 16:262-265.
    _Review of: Anderson, Abraham, _Kant, Hume, and the Interruption of Dogmatic Slumber_, New York, Oxford University Press, 2020, 180+xxii, 978-0-19-009674-8_.
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  5. Hume und Russell über Grenzen des Empirismus.Reinhard Fiedler - 2018 - Aufklärung Und Kritik 4 (2018):118-124.
    This is a short reminder that Bertrand Russell suggested a number of a priori postulates which are to serve as foundation for an empiricist philsophy.
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  6. Hume und Russell über Grenzen des Empirismus.Reinhard Fiedler - 2018 - Aufklärung Und Kritik 4 (25. Jahrhgang):118 - 124.
    The article gives a short characterization of Russell's solution to Hume's problem: empirical postulates.
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  7. Hume und Russell über Grenzen des Empirimus.Reinhard Fiedler - 2018 - Aufklärung Und Kritik 4 (2018):118 - 124.
    Russell's a priori postulates of empirist theories of knowledge. Kurze Darstellung von Russells Postulaten als Ermöglichung einer empiristischen Erkenntnistheorie.
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  8. Gerhard Streminger, David Hume. Der Philosoph und sein Zeitalter.Thomas Dewender - 2012 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 119 (2):480-482.
  9. Hacia una interpretación conectada de la experiencia en la filosofía de David Hume.Sofía Calvente - 2022 - Tópicos 43:47-75.
    En este trabajo nos proponemos hacer un aporte para esclarecer el sentido y la función de la experiencia en el marco de la teoría del conocimiento de Hume. Para ello examinaremos dos interpretaciones que pueden reconstruirse en la literatura secundaria: la que la entiende como impresiones simples de sensación y la que la concibe como patrones de percepciones conectadas. Consideramos que la primera perspectiva no es adecuada para comprender el rol epistémico de la experiencia, lo que nos inclina hacia la (...)
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  10. Leibniz, Bayle y Hume: En torno al problema del mal.Fernando Bahr - 1995 - Tópicos 3:27-51.
  11. Hume contra Aristóteles, Locke y Leibniz sobre la causalidad.Silvio Mota Pinto - 2020 - Tópicos: Revista de Filosofía 59:367-396.
    Aristotle’s conception of causality and the ones Modern philosophers have bequeathed us have been exhaustively discussed, although the contrast between them has not, in my opinion, been sufficiently highlighted. This paper proposes to fill this gap. I start with Aristotelian causality and his theses that causal explanation requires knowledge of causal laws and that the necessity associated with these laws presupposes the existence of causal powers. I discuss next Locke’s and Leibniz’s attempts to modernize Aristotle’s theses on causality. The third (...)
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  12. Hume. A Very Short Introduction by James A. Harris.Moritz Baumstark - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (2):315-318.
    This is not the first Very Short Introduction to Hume. An earlier introduction to Hume by the eminent twentieth-century philosopher A. J. Ayer was included in the series in 2000 and is now replaced by James Harris’s volume.1 The choice of Harris by the editors at Oxford University Press was an obvious one, since he published a full-scale intellectual biography of Hume in 2015.2 The shorter book is not, however, merely a shortened version of the larger work. Rather, it was (...)
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  13. The Great Guide: What David Hume can teach us about Being Human and Living Well by Julian Baggini.Lorraine L. Besser - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (2):311-314.
    In this book, Baggini explores Hume’s life and philosophy in an effort to decipher what contemporary, non-academic, audiences might take away from it about what it means to be human and to live well. This is a daunting project for a couple of reasons. First, in comparison with other major figures in the history of philosophy such as Aristotle, Hume does not himself give much direct guidance on these topics. His writings purport to present analyses of human nature, the influences (...)
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  14. Sistemi filosofici moderni: Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume.Simone D'Agostino - 2013 - Pisa: ETS.
  15. Aux sources de l'anthropologie positive: Auguste Comte lecteur de David Hume.Fatma Moumni - 2013 - Paris: L'Harmattan.
  16. Skeptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding".David Hume - 2013 - In Jeffrey E. Foss (ed.), Science and the World: Philosophical Approaches. Broadview Press.
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  17. Taking a chance!: la ricerca di David Hume tra causa e caso, una riforma dell'intelletto tra conscio e inconscio.Ivan Ottolini - 2014 - Roma: Aracne editrice S.r.l..
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  18. Crith Aigne: Smaointe na bhFealsamh.Risteárd Mac Annraoi - 2015 - Baile Atha Cliath: Coiscéim.
    Discusses questions of causation, substance, and identity. Among the philosophers discussed are: Immanuel Kant, Thomas Acuin, Augustine, Plato, David Hume, John Locke, Socrates, Aristotle, Baruch Spinoza, Descartes, Leibniz, and Hegel.
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  19. La voie des idées, de Descartes à Hume.Pierre Guenancia - 2015 - Paris: Puf.
  20. Spinoza, Hume, and the politics of imagination: naturalism, narrative, enlightenment.Rudmer Bijlsma - 2015 - Antwerpen: Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte, Departement Wijsbegeerte.
  21. PITSON, A. E., Hume's Philosophy of the Self, Routledge, London/New York, 2002, 196 pp. [REVIEW]Miguel García-Valdecasas - 2003 - Anuario Filosófico:532-534.
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  22. Beyond Hume: other-worldly philosophical enquiries naturalism versus supernaturalism.Sukhendu Bhattacharjee - 2016 - Kolkata: Firma KLM Private.
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  23. Auguste Comte et la pensée de David Hume.Fatma Moumni - 2016 - Paris: L'Harmattan.
    1. Empirisme positivisme : deux philosophes anthropologiques des limites et du devenir -- L'homme des origines -- Fétichisme et dysharmonie avec le monde -- La tension instinctive au connaître -- Contrer la mort : action et réussite : l'homme chasseur et l'homme prévoyant -- Histoire : " probabilitaire " ou science de l'histoire -- Périodisation et quête de la causalité -- Promesse ou loi -- Les discontinuités de l'histoire -- La rupture du loyalisme : partialité et universalité -- Comte ou (...)
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  24. David Hume's humanity: the philosophy of common life and its limits.Scott Yenor - 2016 - New York, NY: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Scott Yenor argues that David Hume's reputation as a skeptic is greatly exaggerated. In David Hume's Humanity, Yenor shows how Hume's skepticism is a moment leading Hume to defend a philosophy that is grounded in the inescapable assumptions of common life. Humane virtues reflect the proper reaction to the complex mixture of human faculties that define the human condition. These gentle virtues best find their home in the modern commercial republic, of which England is the leading example. Hume's defense of (...)
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  25. Gazze, whist e verità: David Hume e le immagini della filosofia.Emilio Mazza - 2016 - Milano: Mimesis.
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  26. David Hume and a Treatise of human nature.Maryellen Lo Bosco - 2016 - New York: Britannica Educational Publishing.
  27. Credenza e ragione scettica: l'influenza di Hume nel pensiero di J. G. Hamann.Mario Spezzapria - 2017 - [Turin]: Nuova Trauben.
  28. Hume's Scepticism, Pyrrhonian and Academic by Peter S. Fosl. [REVIEW]Stefanie Rocknak - 2022 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 60 (4):700-701.
    Peter Fosl presents an engaging and historically rich account of Hume's skepticism. For those readers interested in deepening their knowledge and understanding of Pyrrhonian and Academic skepticism, both in regard to their origins and their legacy, I highly recommend it. But I also recommend it for those who would like to better understand Hume's skepticism, although I do think there is some tension in Fosl's reading. Before I discuss this tension, a brief summary of the book is in order. Fosl's (...)
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  29. Hume’s Mitigated Skepticism with Regard to the Systems of Reality.Wendel de Holanda Pereira Campelo - 2022 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 63 (152):317-336.
    RESUMO Neste artigo, argumento que o compromisso de Hume com objetos independentes da mente está baseado em dois tipos de realismo ou sistema de realidades: (a) um realismo ingênuo baseado em uma crença vulgar injustificada que identifica percepções e objetos, e (b) um realismo representacional ou sistema filosófico de dupla existência. Em primeiro lugar, enfatizo que a questão filosófica “Se existem ou não corpos” não pode ser considerada um caso completo de ceticismo não mitigado, porque Hume aceita um ceticismo mitigado (...)
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  30. Hume and the common sense philosophers.James A. Harris - 2018 - In Charles Bradford Bow (ed.), Common Sense in the Scottish Enlightenment. Oxford University Press.
  31. Die Verinnerlichung der sozialen Natur: zum Verhältnis von Freiheit und Einfühlung in der Sozialpsychologie des frühen Liberalismus bei Locke, Shaftesbury, Hume und Smith.Dirk Schuck - 2019 - Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag.
  32. Hume and Maimonides on imaginability and possibility.Mark Steiner - 2019 - In Samuel Lebens, Dani Rabinowitz & Aaron Segal (eds.), Jewish Philosophy in an Analytic Age. Oxford University Press, Usa.
  33. Hume and "reason as a kind of cause".P. J. E. Kail - 2020 - In Dominik Perler & Sebastian Bender (eds.), Causation and Cognition in Early Modern Philosophy. Routledge.
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  34. Zur Epistemologie des Wunders : Swinburne versus Hume.Jörg Disse - 2019 - In Ulrich L. Lehner & Ronald K. Tacelli (eds.), Wort Und Wahrheit: Fragen der Erkenntnistheorie. Kohlhammer.
  35. David Hume über den Glauben oder Idealismus und Realismus: ein Gespräch (1787).Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi - 2019 - Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag.
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  36. Cognitive science and Hume's legacy.Mark Collier - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  37. Hume's meaning empiricism : a reassessment.Tom Seppalainen - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  38. Hume and continental philosophy.Jeffrey Bell - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
  39. Hume on moral responsibility and free will.Tamas Demeter - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
  40. Humean naturalism and skepticism.P. J. E. Kail - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  41. Hume's self.Yumiko Inukai - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  42. Causality and Hume's project.Miren Boehm - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  43. Hume's system of the sciences.Don Garrett - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  44. The French context of Hume's philosophy.Todd Ryan) - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
  45. Hume's philosophy and its modern British debts.Stephen Buckle - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
  46. Hume and the ancients.Lívia Guimarães - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
  47. Naturalists, Deduction and Hume.Carin Robinson - manuscript
    This paper argues that there is a rational inconsistency in the naturalist project when rejecting analyticity and a priori knowledge but using deduction in philosophical enquiry. This is because deduction should be construed in the Humean sense – as demonstrative reasoning which allows necessary inference from conceptual truths in the premises to a conceptual truth in the conclusion. We look at a few different accounts of deduction, ones which might be able to assist the naturalist by offering an alternative reading (...)
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  48. Personal Identity as Political System in David Hume.Spartaco Pupo & Italy - 2020 - In James Beauregard, Giusy Gallo & Claudia Stancati (eds.), The person at the crossroads: a philosophical approach. Vernon Press.
  49. Deleuze interprete di Hume.Gaetano Rametta - 2020 - Milano: Mimesis.
  50. Empirismus und Ästhetik: Zur deutschsprachigen Rezeption von Hume, Hutcheson, Home und Burke im 18. Jahrhundert.Lore Knapp - 2022 - De Gruyter.
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