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1. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Peter Loptson Impressions, Ideas, and Ontological Type
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This paper explores the ontological categories in which Hume’s texts seem to justify placing his central terms of art, impression, and idea. The options of impressions/ideas as “acts” (or “states”) and as “objects” (inner mental particulars) are discussed, with reference to interpretations forwarded in the secondary literature as well as to Hume’s texts. Variants of both these options are explored and assessed, as are relations between the categoreal type for impressions and ideas and Hume’s views on the “external world.” I argue as well that there is an interesting, though elusive, alternative which most commentators neglect, but which appears in later empiricist philosophy, viz., that Hume intends impressions/ideas to be a new category of item, intermediate between act and object. I conclude that while some Humean texts suggest such a view, the likeliest interpretation is a version of the “act” or “state” construal.
2. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
James Van Cleve “Distinction of Reason” is an Incomplete Symbol
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In Treatise 1.1.7, Hume poses the problem of how to understand the “distinction of reason” that figures in the philosophies of the medievals, Descartes, and the Port Royalists. The problem in a nutshell is that a distinction of reason is supposed to be a distinction in thought between things that are inseparable in reality; yet according to Hume’s own principles, whatever things are distinct are separable in thought and therefore also in reality. It follows that things inseparable in reality should be neither distinguishable in thought nor distinct, period, so a distinction of reason ought on Hume’s principles to be impossible. Yet Hume goes on to try to make room for it, to the consternation of many commentators. I argue that he can indeed make room for it; the key is to recognize that ‘distinction of reason’ is an incomplete symbol.
3. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Peter Millican Hume’s Pivotal Argument, and His Supposed Obligation of Reason
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Treatise 1.4.1 argues that whenever we assess our probability of error, “we are oblig’d by our reason” to consider also the probability of error in that assessment, leading to a fatal regress which—but for irresistible nature—would extinguish all belief. The argument plays a huge role in the Treatise, and has recently attracted many defenders, rejecting the previously standard objection that iterated reflection need not imply reduction of probability. This paper, however, presses a more fundamental objection—that there is no obligation of reason to iterate in the first place—something obscured by the failure of previous analyses to focus on specific examples. Unlike the Treatise, Hume’s Enquiry of 1748 is richly illustrated with examples, making it likely that he himself would have encountered these problems. And there are traces in the Enquiry of a fundamental change of view, corroborating the significance of this argument for his philosophical development.
4. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Dejan Šimković Hume’s Use of “Moral Distinctions” in Treatise 3.1.1
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There is widespread scholarly disagreement concerning Hume’s use and understanding of the term “moral distinctions.” While commentators offer a range of interpretations of this term, there has been little attempt to understand the diverse range of meanings attributed to it, or to adjudicate between them. The present paper attempts to contribute to the understanding of Hume’s position on the nature and origin of moral distinctions by filling this lacuna. I argue that Hume uses “moral distinctions” in two senses. First, in the context of his refutation of the moral rationalist position on moral distinctions, Hume uses “moral distinctions” to refer to the demonstrable, eternal, and necessary relations that obtain between, and apparently exist separately from, moral qualities. And second, in the context of his account of the role that sentiment plays in moral perception, Hume uses “moral distinctions” to refer to the differences that we uniformly experience when evaluating an object, between qualities that are both distinctively moral and the strict opposites of one another. For example, the difference between moral good and evil, or the distinction between particular virtues and vices, such as the difference between justice and injustice, or between gratitude and ingratitude, and the like. Hume explains the uniformity in the way we experience and talk about moral distinctions, by locating their origin in the same sentiment or impression that, in his understanding, explains how we perceive and, consequently, have ideas of moral qualities themselves. This enables Hume not just to replace the rationalist’s moral epistemology, but also to reject Hobbesian skepticism about “the reality of moral distinctions” (EPM 1.2; SBN 169–70), despite arguing that “moral distinctions” does not represent anything external to the mind.
5. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Emily Kelahan Naturalness and Artificiality in Humean Virtue Theory
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In this paper I explore a parallel between Hume’s virtue ethics and his virtue epistemology. Hume makes a categorical distinction between natural and artificial moral traits. Though it is less conspicuous, I argue that he draws a similar distinction between natural and artificial intellectual traits. In both the moral and the intellectual case, I argue that artificial traits are vulnerable to vice in a way that natural traits are not. Examination of this parallel opens the possibility of understanding Hume as a comprehensive virtue theorist while also raising questions about the distinction between moral and intellectual virtue in Hume’s philosophy.
book review
6. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Robert Gressis Kant, Hume, and the Interruption of Dogmatic Slumber
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7. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 2
Philip A. Reed Reading Hume on the Principles of Morals
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articles
8. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Sam Zahn The Two Forms of Doxastic Normativity in Hume’s Treatise
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Recent commentators have contended that Hume’s skeptical arguments in the Treatise lead him to eschew a traditional epistemic account of justification in favor of a pragmatic account. While this view resolves some textual puzzles, others arise. Instead, Hume should be read as endorsing two completely distinct standards of doxastic normativity: the epistemic and the pragmatic. The epistemic grants beliefs philosophical approval, while the pragmatic circumscribes the domain of investigation to prevent reasoning that leads to extreme skepticism. I argue that the mixed account of justification makes better sense of key passages in the Treatise than either constituent can on its own. One notable virtue of this account is that it explains how Hume can hold that the vulgar can have all things considered warrant.
9. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Daniel R. Siakel Hume’s Appendix Problem and Associative Connections in the Treatise and Enquiry
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Given the difficulty of characterizing the quandary introduced in Hume’s Appendix to the Treatise, coupled with the alleged “underdetermination” of the text, it is striking how few commentators have considered whether Hume addresses and/or redresses the problem after 1740—in the first Enquiry, for example. This is not only unfortunate, but ironic; for, in the Appendix, Hume mentions that more mature reasonings may reconcile whatever contradiction(s) he has in mind. I argue that Hume’s 1746 letter to Lord Kames foreshadows a subtle, but significant, shift in Hume’s reasonings regarding the relevance of “real connexions”; that the Enquiry of 1748 provides evidence for this shift; and that this shift obviates Hume’s second thoughts by reconciling the contradiction that he had in mind. In short, Hume’s letter to Kames and Enquiry supply the retrodictive keys to a systematically satisfactory account.
historiography
10. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Mark G. Spencer Hume’s Last Book Review?: A New Attribution
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This essay argues for a new Hume attribution. It does so by pursuing an endnote—related to the Rev. Thomas Percy’s The Regulations and Establishment of the Household of Henry Algernon Percy, the Fifth Earl of Northumberland—that Hume added to the 1773 edition of his History of England. Establishing the contexts of Hume’s elaborate endnote—including his later revisions to it and his correspondence with Percy, Adam Smith, William Strahan, and others—leads us to an anonymous book review of Percy’s volume, published in Gilbert Stuart’s Edinburgh Magazine and Review. If the argument presented here is right, that review is Hume’s. Appearing in January 1774, it is also the last known book review that Hume published.
11. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Felix Waldmann Additions to Further Letters of David Hume
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The following article provides a number of additions to Further Letters of David Hume, the supplementary edition of Hume’s letters and manuscripts published by the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society in 2014. The article is intended as a provisional resource for scholars who are awaiting a complete Correspondence of David Hume, scheduled for appearance with the Clarendon Edition of the Works of David Hume (Oxford University Press), and it includes several unknown Hume letters and manuscripts which were either inadvertently omitted from Further Letters of David Hume or discovered in the period since its publication.
book review
12. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Emily Kelahan Hume’s Science of Human Nature: Scientific Realism, Reason, and Substantial Explanation
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13. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Katharina Paxman Hume, Passion, and Action
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14. Hume Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1
Alison Mcintyre Hume on Art, Emotion, and Superstition: A Critical Study of the Four Dissertations
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articles
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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
19. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Spyridon Tegos Hume’s Sceptical Enlightnment
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20. Hume Studies: Volume > 43 > Issue: 2
Deborah Boyle The Rise and Fall of Scottish Common Sense Realism
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