On Hume's Defense of Berkeley

Open Journal of Philosophy 5 (6):327 - 337 (2015)
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Abstract

In 1739 Hume bequeathed a bold view of the self to the philosophical community that would prove highly influential, but equally controversial. His bundle theory of the self elicited substantial opposition soon after its appearance in the Treatise of Human Nature. Yet Hume makes it clear to his readers that his views on the self rest on respectable foundations: namely, the views of the highly regarded Irish philosopher, George Berkeley. As the author of the Treatise sees it, his account of the self draws on Berkeley’s conception of language, especially his views on singular terms. But Hume, as impressed as he is with Berkeley’s account of language, deems it necessary to defend this view against possible criticism. In the process Hume modifies Berkeley’s views. My paper is a critical investigation of Hume’s defense of Berkeley on language and an attempt to highlight the extent to which Hume departs from the views of his Irish colleague. -/- .

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Alan Schwerin
Rice University (PhD)

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