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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 1993 contains helpful introductory articles on Hume's views about several topics in metaphysics and epistemology.

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  1. Humean Skepticism and Entitlement.Santiago Echeverri - forthcoming - In Scott Stapleford & Verena Wagner (eds.), Hume and Contemporary Epistemology. New York: Routledge.
    Many philosophers have found in Hume’s skeptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding the materials for an argument that generalizes from induction to other domains, like our beliefs in the external world, other minds, and the past. This chapter offers a novel reconstruction of that argument and identifies the principles that are responsible for its capacity to generalize beyond induction. Next, it presents a classical reading of Hume’s skeptical solution and shows that Crispin Wright’s entitlement theory is close in (...)
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  2. The Oxford Handbook of David Hume.Paul Russell (ed.) - 2016 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) is widely regarded as the greatest and most significant English-speaking philosopher and often seen as having had the most influence on the way philosophy is practiced today in the West. His reputation is based not only on the quality of his philosophical thought but also on the breadth and scope of his writings, which ranged over metaphysics, epistemology, morals, politics, religion, and aesthetics. The Handbook's 38 newly commissioned chapters are divided into six parts: Central (...)
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  3. David Hume: Critical Assessments (vol. II).Peter Millican (ed.) - 1995 - Routledge.
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  4. Imagining the Unseen: The External World of Hume’s Treatise.Angela M. Coventry - forthcoming - In Elizabeth S. Radcliffe (ed.), Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature: A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This paper provides a brief history of some critical responses and expansions of Hume on external objects, with a particular emphasis on the relevance of developmental psychology.
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  5. Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature: A Critical Guide.Elizabeth S. Radcliffe (ed.) - forthcoming - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  6. Empirisme transcendantal et subjectivité: la notion de sujet dans les monographies de Deleuze sur Hume, Kant, Nietzsche et Bergson.Julie van der Wielen - 2023 - Paris: Hermann.
    L'empirisme transcendantal élaboré par Gilles Deleuze n'est pas le fruit du hasard : il résulte de lectures critiques et d'un véritable remaniement de concepts, notamment dans ses monographies des années cinquante et soixante. Or on lit généralement les œuvres de maturité de Deleuze sans trop s'attarder sur ces premiers écrits. De même, la question de la subjectivité dans son œuvre est souvent laissée au second plan, et l'on constate dans la littérature secondaire des opinions diamétralement opposées quant au statut du (...)
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  7. De Bayle à Hume: tolérance, hypothèses, systèmes.Gianni Paganini - 2023 - Paris: Honoré Champion éditeur.
    Ce livre naît de la conviction qu'il est impossible de saisir le sens de la philosophie de Pierre Bayle sans la mettre en contexte dans les grands débats du siècle. Dans cette perspective, le scepticisme n'était pas pour lui incompatible avec le rationalisme, si l'on entend le premier comme raison critique exigeante et le second comme recherche qui fait éclater tout dogmatisme. C'est la notion et la méthode d'hypothèse qui gagnent du terrain, en fondant la tolérance et annonçant la polémique (...)
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  8. Hume's relation to Malebranche..Carll Whitman Doxsee - 1916 - [Boston,:
  9. A Reconciliation between Liberty and Necessity : The connection of morality, responsibility, and liberty in Hume`s philosophy.최성민 ) - 2019 - Modern Philosophy 13:49-73.
  10. Hume’s Theory of Ideas - New Hume vs. Old Hume.양선이 ) - 2019 - Modern Philosophy 13:5-47.
    이 논문에서 나는 흄의 관념이론을 검토한다. 그렇게 하는 과정에서 우리는 흄이 『인성론』의 여러 장에서 ‘관념’이라는 말을 사용하고 있음을 알게 되고 흄의 ‘관념’에 관해 여러 가지 방식의 해석이 존재함을 알게 된다. 우선 우리는 표준적 해석으로서 관념을 ‘이미지(image)’로 보는 입장을 검토한다. 두 번째 해석은 관념을 ‘작용(act)’으로 보는 것이고, 세 번째 해석은 관념을 ‘대상(object)’으로 보는 것이다. 그리고 네 번째 해석은 관념을 ‘뇌의 인상(brain impression)’으로 보는 것이다. 네 번째 해석과 관련하여 몇몇의 주석가들은 흄이 지각을 표상이라고 설명하는 방식을 다루는데 있어서 신경생리학적 개념을 사용한 것에 주목한다.나는 (...)
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  11. Can We Know Whether Scepticism Is Right or Wrong? Reid's Criticisms and Hume's Answer.Claire Etchegaray - unknown
  12. Husserl e Hume.Guilherme Felipe Carvalho - 2023 - Revista Estudos Hum(E)Anos 11 (1):74-83.
    A tradução a seguir tem como pretensão demonstrar o modo como Gaston Berger (1896-1960) em seu texto Husserl et Hume, promove uma articulação entre a fenomenologia de Edmund Husserl e o empirismo de David Hume. No texto, o autor apresenta a maneira como a fenomenologia ao valorizar a experiência (tendo-a como imprescindível) se aproxima da filosofia de Hume, e ao tratá-la como insuficiente por si mesma, acaba por estabelecer uma estreita relação com o idealismo transcendental kantiano. O fato é que (...)
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  13. British Empiricism.Peter West & Manuel Fasko - 2024 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    ‘British Empiricism’ is a name traditionally used to pick out a group of eighteenth-century thinkers who prioritised knowledge via the senses over reason or the intellect and who denied the existence of innate ideas. The name includes most notably John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume. The counterpart to British Empiricism is traditionally considered to be Continental Rationalism that was advocated by Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, all of whom lived in Continental Europe beyond the British Isles and all embraced innate (...)
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  14. Kantian Circularity: Maimon on Causal Scepticism and the Status of the Hypothetical Judgement.Emily Fitton - 2023 - Kantian Review 28 (4):597-613.
    A key theme throughout Maimon’s works is a circularity he diagnoses at the heart of Kant’s response to Hume. The objective validity of Kant’s category of causality ultimately rests, Maimon argues, upon the logical status of the hypothetical judgement – on its inclusion among the forms of pure general logic. In turn, however, the inclusion of the hypothetical within pure general logic itself rests upon the objective validity of causal judgements. This article examines Maimon’s diagnosis and traces it back to (...)
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  15. Catalina González Quintero, Academic Skepticism in Hume and Kant: A Ciceronian Critique of Metaphysics.Peter S. Fosl - 2023 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 21 (3):307-312.
  16. Hume on Self and Sympathy.Dario Galvão - 2023 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 21 (3):255-273.
    The paper seeks to contribute to the discussion of Hume's theory of personal identity, by examining a conflict regarding the vivacity of the self in his writings about sympathy. Although the mechanism of sympathy supposes that self is the liveliest perception of thought, when we consider sympathy through the perspective of the ‘desire of company’, we find that self lacks vivacity and, without alterity, it would be in reality nothing. Our objective is to present the conflict and show that, far (...)
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  17. L’histoire naturelle de la religion et les dialogues sur la religion naturelle.Alexandre Simon - 2009 - Philosophique 12:93-122.
    Si l'on s'en tient à la distinction qu'établit l'Introduction de L'histoire naturelle de la religion entre la question du fondement de la religion dans la raison et celle de son origine dans la nature humaine, on sera tenté d'attribuer à chacun des deux principaux textes de Hume sur la religion - L'histoire naturelle de la religion et les Dialogues sur la religion naturelle -un objet propre, déterminant un type de discours philosophique particulier. L'histoire naturelle développerait un discours causal, principalement généalogique, (...)
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  18. Traces of Hume in Sociology.Angela M. Coventry - 2024 - In Tamás Demeter (ed.), The Sociological Heritage of the Scottish Enlightenment. Edinburgh University Press.
    The aim of this paper is to bring the historical origins of sociology and Hume’s philosophy of society a bit closer together by examining some of the ways that Hume’s thought has influenced the directions of sociological thinking. I survey Humean traces in key figures in the field of sociology across the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries in Europe and the United States of America on the topics of positivism, economics, convention, custom and habit, religion, morality, and the self.
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  19. Der belief in Hume's kausalitätstheorie..Otto Quast - 1903 - Halle,: Druck von E. Karras.
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  20. LOCKE, BERKELEY VE HUME AÇISINDAN TÖZ SORUNU.Güdücü Fatma - 2022 - Dissertation, Pamukkale Üniversitesi
  21. A Comparative Study of the Epistemological Origin of Philosophical concepts from the perspective of Hume and Allameh Tabatabai.Zahra Hatami Nemati, Hossein Nowrouzi & Seyyed Ebrahim Aghazadeh - 2023 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations 17 (44):179-200.
    The review of the works and the writings of philosophers regarding the origin of philosophical concepts and the origin of the concepts and imaginations before it are indicative of the gradual and influenced formation and importance of this issue from a series of ideas in both the west and Islam. In the western world, the idea of innate ideas raised by rationalists and the rejection of the same idea by empiricists finally leads the Scottish philosopher Hume, who is evasive from (...)
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  22. Der psychologismus im englischen empirismus.Hans Pfeil - 1934 - Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh.
    Vorwort.--Einleitung.--Francis Bacon.--John Locke.--George Berkeley.--David Hume.
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  23. Modality: A History.Yitzhak Melamed & Samuel Newlands (eds.) - 2024 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    Modality: A History provides readers a sweeping study of the history of philosophical work on modal concepts. Everyday discourse is saturated with appeals to what might be the case or to what must be true or to what cannot happen. Possibility, necessity, and impossibility are modal terms, and philosophers have long wondered how to best understand them. This volume traces the history of some of the most prominent and important contributions to our understanding of possibility and necessity over the past (...)
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  24. Fracaso y experiencia del límite. Naturalismo metodológico y crisis escéptica en el Tratado de D. Hume.Elena Yrigoyen Carpintero - 2023 - Contrastes: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 28 (3):9-23.
    ¿Qué significa "fracasar" para un naturalista metodológico? ¿Está éste abocado al escepticismo, y es este un fracaso? Para responder a estas preguntas, realizaré (1) un análisis de lo que se considera "naturalismo" en Hume, desde el que analizaré (2) la crisis escéptica narrada en la conclusión del Libro I del Tratado. Allí defenderé que la metafórica utilizada, engarzada con el concepto de fracaso, permite dos lecturas: una que une necesariamente naturalismo metodológico y escepticismo mitigado, y otra que no. No obstante, (...)
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  25. Reply to My Critics: Experience Embodied: Early Modern Accounts of the Human Place in Nature.Anik Waldow - 2023 - Hume Studies 48 (2):329-340.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reply to My CriticsExperience Embodied: Early Modern Accounts of the Human Place in NatureAnik Waldow (bio)I would like to thank Dario Perinetti and Hynek Janoušek for their thoughtful comments and the time and effort they invested into my work. Their reflections drive attention to important questions and make helpful suggestions about how some of the arguments of the book can be further developed and clarified. In what follows, I (...)
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  26. Experience, Embodiment, and History: Remarks on Waldow’s Experience Embodied.Dario Perinetti - 2023 - Hume Studies 48 (2):319-328.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Experience, Embodiment, and History: Remarks on Waldow’s Experience EmbodiedDario Perinetti (bio)Anik Waldow’s Experience Embodied delves into what she calls the “early modern debate on the concept of experience.”1 In her rich and wide-ranging account, she shows how a group of key early modern philosophers dealt with a puzzle regarding the connection between the subjective and objective aspects of experience. The puzzle stems from the fact that experience reveals as (...)
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  27. Meanings of “Embodied Experience”: A Response to Anik Waldow’s Book.Hynek Janoušek - 2023 - Hume Studies 48 (2):305-317.
    The text first briefly summarizes the contents of Annik Waldow's book and then attempts to highlight the diverse meanings of the concept of bodily experience in eighteenth-century philosophy, especially in the philosophy of David Hume. After a brief distinction between subjective and objective bodily experience in Descartes, I point to six different meanings of this concept in David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature. One of these notions, the body as a center of reference, turns out to be important for interpreting (...)
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  28. Handeln und Erkennen: zur Kritik des Empirismus am Beispiel der Philosophie David Humes.Hans-Hermann Hoppe - 1976 - Bern: Herbert Lang.
    Ausgehend von einer Gegenüberstellung der erkenntnistheoretischen Grundpositionen des Empirismus und der Transzendentalphilosophie (Apriorismus) will der Autor am Beispiel der Probleme «Begriffsbildung» und «Kausalität» zeigen, wie sich klassische philosophische Kontroversen (Hume-Kant) unter Zuhilfenahme erkenntnistheoretisch relevanter biologisch-psychologischer Forschungsergebnisse (J. Piaget, K. Lorenz) lösen lassen.
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  29. Hume’s Imagination by Tito MAGRI (review).Don Garrett - 2023 - Review of Metaphysics 77 (1):156-158.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Reviewed by: Hume’s Imagination by Tito MAGRI Don Garrett MAGRI, Tito. Hume’s Imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022. xiii + 494 pp. Cloth, $115.00In A Treatise of Human Nature, Hume defines “the imagination” in an inclusive sense as “the faculty, by which we form our fainter ideas”—that is, those that are not memories. In the narrower sense, it is “the same faculty, excluding only our demonstrative and probable (...)
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  30. A treatise of human nature.David Hume - 2007 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late modern philosophy: essential readings with commentary. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  31. Is imagining impossibilities impossible?William Bondi Knowles - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    According to what Hume termed an ‘establish’d maxim’, nothing absolutely impossible is imaginable. It has recently been claimed against this that given the ubiquity of stipulative imagination, where one imagines a proposition simply by adding it as a stipulation about the imagined situation, it seems that we can imagine any impossibility whatsoever, even plain contradictions: all we need to do is add them as stipulations. The aim of this article is both to defend Hume’s maxim against this objection and – (...)
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  32. O Ceticismo Quanto À Razão Em HUET e Hume.Wendel de Holanda Pereira Campelo - 2023 - Síntese Revista de Filosofia 50 (157):239.
    A despeito de ser bem menos conhecido atualmente, o problema do ceticismo quanto à razão foi um assunto bastante relevante entre os autores dos séculos XVII e XVIII, da mesma maneira que o ceticismo quanto ao mundo exterior. Nesse sentido, busco apresentar os impactos de Huet sobre a posição de Hume no que concerne ao ceticismo quanto à razão do Tratado da Natureza Humana, particularmente a partir da versão pirrônica elaborada por Huet do argumento cartesiano do “Deus enganador”. Assim, como (...)
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  33. Disciplinary Transformations in the Age of Newton: The Case of Metaphysics.Alan Gabbey - 2023 - In Wolfgang Lefèvre (ed.), Between Leibniz, Newton, and Kant: Philosophy and Science in the Eighteenth Century. Springer. pp. 3-25.
    The chapter emphasizes the complexity of the relations between philosophy and science in the eighteenth century, as they must be seen against the background that, in the early modern period, as in the preceding centuries, philosophy generally included physics or natural philosophy, mathematics, and metaphysics. Showing the variance in attitudes among Leibniz, Newton, and Locke on how to draw a line of division between metaphysics and physics with regard to a sample of topics, this chapter draws attention to the divergent (...)
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  34. Hume and the external world.Stefanie Rocknak - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), _The Humean Mind_. New York: Routledge.
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  35. Vom Phänomenalen zum Gedanklichen: Studien zu David Humes Semantik, Begriffslehre und Metaphysik.Asher Jiang - 2020 - Paderborn: Brill Mentis.
    Dieses Buch untersucht Humes revolutionäre Theorie des begrifflichen Denkens.Das begriffliche Denken ist eine wichtige Tätigkeit des Geistes. Was genau geschieht im Geist, wenn wir diese Tätigkeit ausüben? Im Vergleich zu anderen Philosophen der Frühen Neuzeit hat Hume bei der Beantwortung dieser Frage eine grössere Schwierigkeit: Humesche Ideen sind (anders als bei Descartes und Locke) rein phänomenaler Natur. Sie sind geistige "Bildchen" ohne begriffliche Struktur. Wie soll das begriffliche Denken mit Hilfe derartiger Ideen möglich sein? Hume reagierte auf diese Herausforderung mit (...)
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  36. Kausalität und Naturgesetze bei Hume und Kant.Wiebke Henning - 2018 - Dissertation, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
    In der Dissertation "Kausalität und Naturgesetze bei Hume und Kant" wird die These vertreten, dass sich in der Werken Kants vielfältige Antworten auf den Skeptizismus David Humes finden lassen. Kants Position zu Naturgesetzen und Kausalität wird insbesondere anhand seiner Theorien zu besonderen Naturgesetzen in der Kritik der reinen Vernunft, den Prolegomena, den Metaphysischen Anfangsgründen der Naturwissenschaft und in der Kritik der Urteilskraft untersucht. Geleitet wird die Untersuchung von der Frage, wie empirische Gesetze in Kants Philosophie gerechtfertigt werden. In diesem Zusammenhang (...)
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  37. Probabilités et rationalité du choix: au sujet de l'irrationnel de David Hume.Pierre Guy Mubambar - 2022 - Paris: L'Harmattan.
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  38. Passioni del tempo: origine della religione e utilità della storia da Hobbes a Hume.Giovanni Paoletti - 2023 - Roma: Carocci editore.
  39. Beschouwingen naar aanleiding van David Hume en zijne leer van het kenvermogen.Marinus Antoni van Melle - 1901 - Amsterdam,: Scheltema & Holkema's boekhandel.
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  40. Hat Kant Hume Widerlegt?Isaak Mirkin - 1902 - Halle a.S.,: Hofbuchdr. von C.A. Kaemmerer & Co..
  41. The imagination in Spinoza and Hume: a comparative study in the light of some recent contributions to psychology.Willard Clark Gore - 1902 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work is in the "public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be (...)
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  42. David Humes lehre vom glauben und ihre entwickelung vom Treatise zur Inquiry..Julius Zimels - 1903 - Kirchhain N.-L.,: M. Schmersow, vorm. Zahn & Baendel.
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  43. Hume, Kant, e lo scetticismo filosofico.G. Casazza - 1913 - Roma: Albrighi, Segati.
  44. “From the Phenomena of Motions to the Forces of Nature”: Hypothesis or Deduction?Howard Stein - 1990 - PSA Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990 (2):209-222.
    There is a passage in Hume’s Enquiry concerning Human Understanding that I have always found striking and rather charming. It concerns a metaphysical theory that Hume regards as bizarre; and he offers two philosophical arguments in its confutation. It is the first of these that I have in mind:First, [he says,] It seems to me, that this theory… is too bold ever to carry conviction with it to a man, sufficiently apprized of the weakness of human reason, and the narrow (...)
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  45. FRANCISCO PEREIRA GANDARILLAS David Hume. Naturaleza, conocimiento y metafísica.Jorge Andrés García - 2011 - Praxis Filosófica 32:301-304.
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  46. Studies in the eighteenth century background of Hume's empiricism.Mary Kuypers - 1930 - Minneapolis,: The University of Minnesota press.
    Studies in the Eighteenth Century Background of Hume's Empiricism was first published in 1930. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. A scholarly review of the influence of contemporary science and thought on the various phases of Hume's philosophy. The chapter headings are as follows: I. Introduction. II. Interpretations of Newtonian Science in the Eighteenth Century. III. Reverberations of the New Science in (...)
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  47. Responses to Ryan, Fosl and Gautier: SKEPSIS Book Symposium on 'Recasting Hume and Early Modern Philosophy', by Paul Russell.Paul Russell - 2023 - Skepsis: A Journal for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Research 14 (26):121-139.
    In the replies to my critics that follow I offer a more detailed account of the specific papers that they discuss or examine. The papers that they are especially concerned with are: “The Material World and Natural Religion in Hume’s Treatise” (Ryan) [Essay 3], “Hume’s Skepticism and the Problem of Atheism” (Fosl) [Essay 12], and “Hume’s Philosophy of Irreligion and the Myth of British Empiricism (Gautier) [Essay 16].
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  48. Humes uppfattning av jagets identitet.Einar Tegen - 1932 - Uppsala,: Almqvist & Wiksells boktryckeri-a.-b.; [etc., etc..
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  49. David Hume e o hiato entre o ponto e a linha: os princípios da dimensão espacial (3rd edition).Marcos César Seneda - 2021 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 25:515-538.
    The aim of this paper is to present the copy principle from execution of the principle of separability for the purpose of elucidating the discussions conducted by Hume in understanding the composition of space and its implications for the sciences that operate with spatial constructions. The particular epistemic gain here is to do this within a model of empiricism. Given that there are several irregularities in the manner of analyzing a complex and extracting simple elements from it, as will be (...)
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  50. 13. David Hume: Sein Pyrrhonismus und seine Kritik des Pyrrhonismus.Richard Popkin - 1997 - In Jens Kulenkampff (ed.), David Hume: Eine Untersuchung Ber den Menschlichen Verstand. Akademie Verlag. pp. 215-251.
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