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Hume Studies

Volume 47, Issue 1, April 2022

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1. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
First Hume Studies Essay Prize Winner
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2. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
John P. Wright In Memoriam: Michael Alexander Stewart (1937–2021)
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3. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth S. Radcliffe, Mark G. Spencer Editors’ Introduction
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4. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Hsueh Qu Skepticism in Hume’s Dialogues
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In this paper, I examine the epistemological positions of Philo and Cleanthes in the Dialogues. I find that Philo’s attitude towards skepticism mirrors that of the first Enquiry, most notably in its endorsement of mitigated skepticism, and its treatment of religious reasoning as distinctly discontinuous with science and philosophy. Meanwhile, Cleanthes’s epistemological framework corresponds to that of the Treatise, most notably in its adoption of something like the Title Principle, and its treatment of some forms of religious reasoning as broadly continuous with science and philosophy. It is not merely that the epistemological systems of the Treatise and Enquiry are echoed in Cleanthes’s and Philo’s positions respectively; these frameworks seem to clarify, provide a substantive basis for, and render more complete their somewhat piecemeal statements on this topic in the Dialogues. Thus, Philo’s and Cleanthes’s dispute is not limited to the theological, but extends to the epistemological.
5. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Daryl Ooi Hume’s Fragment on Evil
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Since its relatively recent publication (1995), Hume’s Fragment on Evil has re­ceived little sustained analysis. References to the Fragment tend to be scarce, and at best, only parts of the Fragment are cited at any time. This essay presents an interpretation of the Fragment that considers the text in its entirety, emphasizing its overall argumentative features and structure. This essay begins by providing an introduction to the background of the Fragment, arguing that Hume was likely responding, in part, to Butler’s Analogy. It then examines the aims and methodology of the Fragment. In this, it considers Hume’s naturalistic and experimental epistemology, and his mitigated skepticism. The Fragment is presented as a discussion about our ability to know the moral attributes of God. The rest of the essay discusses the three strategies Hume employs to answer this question. Further, it considers Hume’s own distinction between a philosophical response to the question (its foundation in reason) and a psychological one (its origin in human nature). Throughout the essay, I provide an evaluation of Hume’s key arguments and point out several connections the Fragment has with other texts in Hume’s corpus. I conclude by suggesting that these connections indicate that the Fragment represent Hume’s own views.
6. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Graham Clay Hume’s Incredible Demonstrations
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Commentators have rightly focused on the reasons why Hume maintains that the conclusions of skeptical arguments cannot be believed, as well as on the role these arguments play in Hume’s justification of his account of the mind. Nevertheless, Hume’s interpreters should take more seriously the question of whether Hume holds that these arguments are demonstrations. Only if the arguments are demonstrations do they have the requisite status to prove Hume’s point—and justify his confidence—about the nature of the mind’s belief-generating faculties. In this paper, I treat Hume’s argument against the primary/secondary quality distinction as my case study, and I argue that it is intended by Hume to be a demonstration of a special variety.
7. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
James Chamberlain Hume on Calm Passions, Moral Sentiments, and the “Common Point of View”
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I argue for a thorough reinterpretation of Hume’s “common point of view” thesis, at least within his moral Enquiry. Hume is typically understood to argue that we correct for sympathetically produced variations in our moral sentiments, by undertaking an imaginative exercise. I argue that Hume cannot consistently claim this, because he argues that we automatically experience the same degree of the same moral sentiment towards all tokens of any one type of character trait. I then argue that, in his Enquiry at least, Hume only believes that we correct for variations in our non-moral sentiments. When he claims that we sometimes choose a “common point of view,” he just means that we sometimes choose to verbally express our calm, moral sentiments, and no other passions, when we publicly evaluate people’s characters.
8. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Sebastian Bender Hume’s Deep Anti-Contractarianism
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Hume is an avowed critic of contractarianism. He opposes the idea that a le­gitimate government is based on an “original contract” or on the consent of those who are governed. Most scholars assume, though, that his criticisms apply only to a limited range of contractarian theories, namely to theories according to which actual contractors reach an actual agreement. Theories on which the agreement in question is understood in hypothetical or counterfactual terms, however, are oftentimes seen as being compatible with Hume’s views. Against such interpretations, this paper shows that Hume rejects all contractarian theories, including hypothetical ones. It argues, first, that Hume employs a so far unacknowledged empiricist debunking strategy against contractarianism; if successful, this strategy undermines all variants of contractarianism. Second, it shows that the Humean conception of the state of nature (a topic that has received virtually no scholarly attention) is incompatible with hypothetical contractarianism. Finally, it argues that Hume rejects contractarianism in part because he anticipates a line of criticism which nowadays is often leveled against so-called ideal theory. On Hume’s view, the agreements reached by highly idealized contractors are of little relevance to the non-ideal individuals in the actual world.
9. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Enrico Galvagni Secret Sentiments: Hume on Pride, Decency, and Virtue
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In this paper, I reconstruct Hume’s account of decency, the virtue associated with a limited display of pride, and show how it presents a significant challenge to standard virtue ethical interpretations of Hume. In section I, I explore his ambivalent conception of pride as both virtuous (because useful and agreeable to oneself) and vi­cious (when excessive and disagreeable to others). In section II, I show how the virtue of decency provides a practical solution to these two clashing aspects of pride. In doing so, I demonstrate that decency is a merely behavioural virtue that requires no virtuous motive and consists of nothing more than “a fair outside.” I argue that this account of decency represents a serious and underexplored challenge to standard interpretations of Hume as a virtue ethicist committed to the idea that actions derive their moral value from underlying motives. In section III, I reply to some objections.
book reviews
10. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Marc Hanvelt The Persistence of Party: Ideas of Harmonious Discord in Eighteenth-Century Britain
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11. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Erik W. Matson A Philosopher’s Economist: Hume and the Rise of Capitalism
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12. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth Radcliffe, Mark Spencer Call for Papers: Second Hume Studies Essay Prize
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