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articles
1. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Nathan I. Sasser Hume’s Purely Practical Response to Philosophical Skepticism
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In this paper, I argue that Hume’s response to his skeptical problem is purely practical. First, I argue that Hume’s terminology of “philosophy” is the textual key to identifying his evaluations of beliefs from that standpoint which is normative for the sciences. Second, I reexamine the crisis of Treatise 1.4.7 (SBN 263–274) in the light of “philosophy.” Hume faces a “life-or-philosophy” dilemma: due to his skeptical arguments, practically indispensable core be­liefs of common life and science are not philosophically acceptable. The Title Principle is not a philosophical norm but rather subordinates philosophical norms to practical interests. Third, I explain Hume’s practical justification for a moderate pursuit of philosophy. He has purely practical reasons for ignoring the skeptical demands of philosophy, and purely practical reasons for follow­ing philosophy in his constructive scientific research.
2. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Erik W. Matson The Dual Account of Reason and the Spirit of Philosophy in Hume’s Treatise
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The purpose of this essay is to contribute to the understanding of Hume’s account of the faculty of reason and to examine some implica­tions for interpreting the broader arc of his philosophy. I argue that Hume develops his thinking about reason dialectically in Book 1 of the Treatise by creating a reflective dynamic between two different concepts of reason. The first concept of reason (reason1) is a narrow faculty that operates on ideas via intuition and demonstration. The second concept (reason2) is a broader imagination-dependent faculty that augments reason1 with the activity of probable reasoning. The dialectic between reason1 and reason2 leads Hume to skepticism, which is compounded by the fact that reason2 self-subverts if not constrained. Hume resolves these matters in the conclusion to Book 1 by conditionally committing to apply reason2 to matters of common life and social interest in a diffidently skeptical manner.
3. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Anthony Nguyen Can Hume Deny Reid’s Dilemma?
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Reid’s dilemma concludes that, whether the idea associated with a denied proposition is lively or faint, Hume is committed to saying that it is either believed or merely conceived. In neither case would there be denial. If so, then Hume cannot give an adequate account of denial. I consider and reject Powell’s suggestion that Hume could have advanced a “Content Con­trary” account of denial that avoids Reid’s dilemma. However, not only would a Humean Content Contrary account be viciously circular, textual evidence suggests that Hume did not hold such an account. I then argue that Govier’s distinction between force and vivacity cannot help Hume. Not only did Hume fail to recognize this distinction, we can advance a variant of Reid’s dilemma even if we distinguish force from vivacity.
4. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Getty L. Lustila Is Hume’s Ideal Moral Judge a Woman?
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Hume refers to women as imaginative, compassionate, conversable, and delicate. While his appraisals of women seem disparate, I argue that they reflect a position about the distinctive role that Hume takes women to have in shaping and enforcing moral norms. On his view, I maintain, women provide us with the ideal model of a moral judge. I claim that Hume sees a tight con­nection between moral competency and those traits he identifies as feminine. Making this case requires clarifying a few concepts in Hume’s philosophical toolbox and their relation to one another. The primary quality of a good moral judge, according to Hume, is a delicacy of taste. I show that Hume thinks of delicacy as a feminine skill that can only be developed in men imperfectly, thereby making women the ideal moral judges.
book review
5. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Spyridon Tegos Hume’s Sceptical Enlightnment
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6. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Deborah Boyle The Rise and Fall of Scottish Common Sense Realism
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7. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Naohito Mori David Hume on Morals, Politics, and Society
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articles
8. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
David Storrs-Fox Hume’s Skeptical Definitions of “Cause”
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The relation between Hume’s constructive and skeptical aims has been a central concern for Hume interpreters. Hume’s two definitions of ‘cause’ in the Treatise and first Enquiry apparently represent an important constructive achievement, but this paper argues that the definitions must be understood in terms of Hume’s skepticism. The puzzle I address is simply that Hume gives two definitions rather than one. I use Don Garrett’s interpretation as a foil to develop my alternative skeptical interpretation. Garrett claims the definitions exhibit a general susceptibility to two kinds of definition that all “sense-based concepts” share. Against Garrett, I argue that the definitions express an imperfection Hume finds only in our concept of causation. That imperfection is absent from other sense-based concepts, and prompts skeptical sentiments in Hume’s conclusion to the Treatise’s Book 1. I close by comparing my interpretation with those of Helen Beebee, Stephen Buckle, Galen Strawson and Paul Russell.
9. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Michael Losonsky Hume’s Skepticism and the Whimsical Condition
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This essay examines the content, context and relevance of Hume’s characterization of the human condition in the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding as “whimsical.” According to Hume, human beings are by nature both theoretical and practical beings and the whimsical condition is an instability generated by both theory and practice. It is the fact that by nature human beings must and do act, reason and believe with assurance and conviction, but are unable to satisfy their natural desire to justify their assurances and convictions. On Hume’s account, this skepticism is cancelled neither by theoretical reflection nor human practice. Finally, Hume’s text suggests that human beings suffer the “whimsical condition of mankind” not only collectively, but that it is a condition human beings experience individually, including dogmatic reasoners.
10. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Emily Nancy Kress Occurrent States and the Problem of Counterfeit Belief in Hume’s Treatise
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This paper assesses Hume’s theory of belief by considering a puzzle about the nature of counterfeit belief. Counterfeit beliefs include states brought on by poetry, which possess the same phenomenological properties as beliefs but still fail to count as beliefs (T 1.3.10.10; SBN 630–31). I argue that a dispositional interpretation can give an account of the difference between belief and counterfeit belief, but most common versions of the occurrent state view cannot. Nonetheless, I argue that the occurrent state view can be revised to accommodate the problem of counterfeit belief. On my version of the occurrent state interpretation, beliefs are lively ideas—that is, occurrent states—that are related to a present impression in an appropriate way. Because counterfeit beliefs are not appropriately related to a present impression, they do not count as beliefs.
11. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Joshua M. Wood Hume’s Impression of Will
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The standard interpretation of the impression of will takes Hume to advance two substantive claims about the experience of willing an act. The first claim holds that this experience is readily introspectible; the second that this experience is strictly antecedent to the performance of an act. This interpretation has rendered the impression of will vulnerable to two lines of criticism. One problem is introspective. We are not normally aware of a distinct experience of willing an act. Another problem is temporal. It is odd to think that the experience of volition is something that occurs in its entirety prior to the performance of an act. I argue that the standard interpretation, which burdens Hume with an implausible view of the experience of willing an act, imports claims for which there is insufficient textual evidence and which are not required by his theoretical commitments.
12. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
James Chamberlain Justice and the Tendency towards Good: The Role of Custom in Hume’s Theory of Moral Motivation
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Given the importance of sympathetic pleasures within Hume’s account of approval and moral motivation, why does Hume think we feel obliged to act justly on those occasions when we know that doing so will benefit nobody? I argue that Hume uses the case of justice as evidence for a key claim regarding all virtues. Hume does not think we approve of token virtuous actions, whether natural or artificial, because they cause or aim to cause happiness in others. It is sufficient for the action to be of a type which has “a tendency to the public good” for us to feel approval of it, and to be motivated to perform it. Once we are aware that just actions tend to cause happiness, we approve of all just actions, even token actions which cause more unhappiness than happiness.
book reviews
13. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth S. Radcliffe Constantine Sandis. Character and Causation: Hume’s Philosophy of Action
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14. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Angela Calvo de Saavedra Philip A. Reed and Rico Vitz, eds. Hume’s Moral Philosophy and Contemporary Psychology
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15. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 1
Richard J. Fry Dennis C. Rasmussen. The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought
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16. Hume Studies: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1/2
Ann Levey, Karl Schafer, Amy M. Schmitter Editors’ Introduction for Volume 42
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articles
17. Hume Studies: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1/2
Emilio Mazza, Gianluca Mori “Loose Bits of Paper” and “Uncorrect Thoughts”: Hume’s Early Memoranda in Context
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Hume’s early memoranda continue to excite different and contradictory interpretations as to their dating, sources, and relation to the Treatise, the Essays and the Dialogues. Our interpretation is based on a double hypothesis: they are notes taken from other notes, rather than current reading notes, and many of them, as to their content, precede the composition of the Treatise. We compare Hume’s notes with their declared or hidden sources and we analyse Hume’s quotations from two of his favourite philosophical authors: Dubos and Bayle. The memoranda are revealed to be notes deemed worth transcribing, later to be put aside or to be developed. Most of them show the breadth of Hume’s youthful interests: history, politics and economics, as well as metaphysics and religion in the early eighteenth century.
18. Hume Studies: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1/2
Dan Kervick Hume’s Perceptual Relationism
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My topic in this paper will be Hume’s claim that we have no idea of a vacuum. I offer a novel interpretation of Hume’s account of our ideas of extension that makes it clear why those ideas cannot include any ideas of vacuums, and I distinguish my interpretation from prominent readings offered by other Hume scholars. An upshot of Hume’s account, I will argue, is his commitment to a remarkable and distinctly Humean view I call “perceptual relationism.” Perceptual relationism is a fundamental characteristic of Hume’s “universe of the imagination,” and a manifestation of just how “loose and separate” the constituents of that inner universe are. Once we understand perceptual relationism and its entailments, we are in a better position to understand the rest of Hume’s sometimes puzzling remarks on space and the vacuum.
19. Hume Studies: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1/2
Kevin R. Busch Hume’s Alleged Lapse on the Causal Maxim
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In his account of our belief in the Causal Maxim Hume argued, among other things, that it is not absolutely necessary for any event to be caused. Harold Noonan attempts an objection to Hume’s argument: in showing (i) the absolute possibility for any event to exist without its actual cause, Hume would not thereby show (ii) the absolute possibility for any event to exist uncaused. For this objection to succeed, Noonan needs two further assumptions: first, that Hume indeed could not move plausibly from (i) to (ii); second, that Hume needed to move from (i) to (ii) to show (ii). Both assumptions are false.
20. Hume Studies: Volume > 42 > Issue: 1/2
Matias Slavov Hume on the Laws of Dynamics: The Tacit Assumption of Mechanism
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I shall argue that when Hume refers to the laws of dynamics, he tacitly assumes a mechanism. Nevertheless, he remains agnostic on whether the hidden micro-constitution of bodies is machinelike. Hence this article comes to the following conclusion. Hume is not a full-blown mechanical philosopher. Still his position on dynamic laws and his concept of causation instantiate a tacitly mechanical understanding of the interactions of bodies.