Journal of Scottish Philosophy 18 (3):273-288 (2020)

Abstract
This article investigates the role of instinct in Hume's understanding of human reason. It is shown that while in the Treatise Hume makes the strong reductive assertion that reason is ‘nothing but’ an instinct, in the First Enquiry the corresponding statement has been modified in several ways, rendering the relation between instinct and reason more complex. Most importantly, Hume now explicitly recognises that alongside instinctive experimental reasoning, there is a uniquely human intellectual power of intuitive and demonstrative reason that is not itself an instinct. At first sight it may look as if this intellectual reason, that is capable of grasping ‘relations of ideas’, is not even grounded in instinct but is a thoroughly non-natural element in human nature. On closer analysis, however, it is shown that intellectual reason, in its apprehension of ‘abstract’ and general relations, is dependent on language – the use of ‘terms’ – and that language itself is grounded in instinctive associations of ideas. Thus, Hume's overall view is that even the intellect is an outgrowth of instinct and his conception of human nature is, therefore, shown to be fully naturalistic. Yet this naturalism can still make room for the ‘exceptionalism’ of human mathematical thought, which has no counterpart in the animal kingdom where language is lacking.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.3366/jsp.2020.0277
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,199
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Hume.Don Garrett - 2014 - Routledge.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Hume on the Limits of Reason in the Realm of the Practical: Some Aristotelian Observations.Marián Kuna - 2007 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 14 (3):303-319.
L'homme Et l'Expérience, Textes Choisis. [REVIEW]B. M. M. - 1969 - Review of Metaphysics 22 (3):571-571.
Transcendental Arguments and Idealism.Ross Harrison - 1982 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 13:211-224.
Transcendental Arguments and Idealism: Ross Harrison.Ross Harrison - 1982 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 13:211-224.
Hume and the Dilemma of Anti-Rationalism.Rachael Cayley - 2003 - Dissertation, New School University
Hume and Instrumental Reason.J. Mintoff - 1998 - Journal of Value Inquiry 32 (4):519-538.
On Foundation Problems of Normative and Educational Ethics.Horst Seidl - 1998 - The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 44:215-222.
Hume on Practical Reason.W. D. Falk - 1975 - Philosophical Studies 27 (1):1 - 18.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2020-09-09

Total views
9 ( #954,339 of 2,518,143 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #408,577 of 2,518,143 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes