Hume on Time and Steadfast Unchanging Objects

History of Philosophy Quarterly (forthcoming)
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One of the most distinctive—and puzzling—features of Hume’s account of time is his insistence that because the idea of duration cannot be derived from unchanging objects, it cannot be correctly applied to them. For Hume, not only is it impossible for there to be time without succession, but strictly speaking no unchanging object can be said to endure. Nevertheless, Hume recognizes that unchanging objects can coexist with temporal successions. Hume calls such objects “stedfast and unchangeable”. However, Hume's account of them is deeply puzzling. For if such an object cannot properly be said to endure, how are we to understand its coexistence with temporal successions? In this paper we explore Hume’s theory of steadfast, unchanging objects and their relation to time. We propose a sceptical solution to our problem.



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Jani Hakkarainen
Tampere University
Todd Ryan
Trinity College

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