Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

Eric Schliesser
University of Amsterdam
David Hume's philosophy, especially the positive project of his science of man, is often thought to be modeled on Newton's successes in natural philosophy. Hume's self-described experimental method (see the subtitle to Treatise) and the resemblance of his rules of reasoning (Treatise, 1.3.15)1 with Newton's are said to be evidence for this position (Noxon 1973; De Pierris 2002). Hume encourages this view of his project by employing Newtonian metaphors: he talks of an attraction in the mental world on a par with that in the natural world ( Hume infers the existence of habits as a kind of mental force (EHU 5.2.2) analogous to gravity; the discovery of the the principles of association, which in thehe calls his most important achievement see the section on Association in the entry on Hume in this Encyclopedia, are, then, analogous to the laws of motion. Hume certainly appears to want his readers to feel that he is modeling his project on the successes of natural philosophy, exemplified by Newton. In the Introduction to the Treatise and even more explicitly in the opening pages of EHU (1.15), Hume suggests that his science of man can parallel recent achievements in natural philosophy (with rather obvious nods to Newton's successes in planetary astronomy). And at the start of EPM, he echoes Newton's rejection of hypotheses (1.10). There is, thus, no doubt that Hume wants his readers to believe that Newton forms a kind of model
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Fodor’s Guide to the Humean Mind.Tamás Demeter - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):5355-5375.
Hume's Colors and Newton's Colored Lights.Dan Kervick - 2018 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 16 (1):1-18.
Newton and Hume.Matias Kimi Slavov - 2020 - Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences.

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