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101. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Miren Boehm Filling the Gaps in Hume’s Vacuums
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The paper addresses two difficulties that arise in Treatise 1.2.5. First, Hume appears to be inconsistent when he denies that we have an idea of a vacuum or empty space yet allows for the idea of an “invisible and intangible distance.” My solution to this difficulty is to develop the overlooked possibility that Hume does not take the invisible and intangible distance to be a distance at all. Second, although Hume denies that we have an idea of a vacuum, some texts in Treatise 1.2.5 are taken by interpreters to suggest that Hume nonetheless believes that there are vacuums in nature. I discuss the relevant texts and defend the view that Hume does not in fact countenance belief in vacuums. I conclude by outlining an interpretation of Hume’s intention in the Treatise that allows us to understand his discussion of ideas as having implications for the sciences.
notes and texts
102. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Lorne Falkenstein Hume’s Seneca Reference in Dialogues 12: An Assessment of Alternatives
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In section 12 of the Dialogues, Hume claimed, without reference, that Seneca had written that to know God is to worship him. His source has proven hard to find. This note identifies some possibilities and argues in favour of one of them—one that has not been recognized by recent editors of the Dialogues.
103. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Todd Ryan Hume’s “Malezieu Argument”
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At T Hume offers an argument against the infinite divisibility of finite extension, which he ascribes to “Mons. Malezieu.” Scholars have long been aware that the ultimate source of the argument is the Élémens de Géométrie de Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne, first published in 1705. Although the argument has figured prominently in several recent discussions of Hume’s metaphysics, there exists as yet no adequate English translation of Malezieu’s text. Furthermore, very little is known about Hume’s immediate sources for the argument. In this article, I provide the original French text with translation. I then inquire into Hume’s knowledge of the text. Drawing on evidence internal to the Treatise passage itself, I consider two plausible sources: a contemporary review of Malezieu’s work in the Nouvelles de la République des Lettres and a critical discussion of the argument in Le Gendre’s Traité de l’opinion (1735). Based on the available evidence, I suggest that the latter was most likely Hume’s source.
book reviews
104. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Beth Innocenti The Politics of Eloquence: David Hume’s Polite Rhetoric. By Marc Hanvelt
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105. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Emily Kelahan David Hume and the Problem of Other Minds. By Anik Waldow
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106. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Tatsuya Sakamoto Hume’s “Early Memoranda” and the Making of His Political Economy
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This essay argues that while the so-called “Hume’s Early Memoranda” has long been regarded as Hume’s juvenile work composed before A Treatise of Human Nature, there is significant internal and external evidence to the contrary. M. A. Stewart’s recent thesis made a new attempt to move the period of composition to the early 1740s. I seek in the following essay to date the composition even later, in the latter half of the 1740s. Re-examined in this new light, the memoranda credibly emerges as a work of preparation for Hume’s political economy to be published as Political Discourses in 1752. Historical and biographical details thus reconstructed around the process of Hume’s composition of the memoranda reveal the hitherto-unrecognized complexity with which Hume’s economic thought was gradually formed in close and profound connections with his moral, political and historical thinking.
107. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Michael B. Gill Humean Sentimentalism and Non-Consequentialist Moral Thinking
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Of the many objections rationalists have raised against moral sentimentalism, none has been more long-lived and central than the claim that sentimentalism cannot accommodate the non-consequentialist aspects of our moral thinking. I examine how Stephen Darwall directs this criticism at Hume’s account of moral judgment and argue that Darwall’s criticism is based on an incorrect interpretation of Hume’s view of motivation and the moral sentiments. Humean moral psychology is more nuanced than Darwall’s objection in particular and rationalist criticisms more generally have assumed. Developing a clear picture of why Hume’s account of moral judgment does not imply an implausible consequentialism reveals the strength of Hume’s moral sentimentalism overall.
108. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Yumiko Inukai Perceptions and Objects: Hume’s Radical Empiricism
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In A Treatise of Human Nature, Hume seems to use the term “object” to refer to different things in different contexts, including impressions, ideas, perceptions, and bodies. Does he ever use the term “external bodies” to refer to things in the extra-mental world? I argue that what Hume means by external bodies when he affirms their existence is not externally existing, material objects that are somehow presented to the mind or presented in impressions. Rather, the bodies that Hume affirms are, at bottom, no different from perceptions, but they can be distinguished from merely internal perceptions like pain or pleasure in terms of their “different relations, connexions, and durations” (T; SBN 68). I conclude that in order to be consistent, given the various statements he makes throughout Book One of the Treatise, Hume must reject the philosopher’s doctrine of double existence of perceptions and objects and affirm only the existence of perceptions, sometimes conceived as internally existing and mind-dependent and sometimes conceived as existing outside and independent of the mind.
109. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Tim Black Hume’s Epistemic Naturalism in the Treatise
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We can understand epistemic naturalism as the view that there are cases in which we are justified in holding a belief and cases in which we are not so justified, and that we can distinguish cases of one sort from cases of the other with reference to non-normative facts about the mechanisms that produce them. By my lights, Hume is an epistemic naturalist of this sort, and I propose in this paper a novel and detailed account of his epistemic naturalism. On my account, which I call the determinacy account, Hume characterizes epistemic justification in terms of the mind’s feeling determined by the relation of cause and effect to move from one impression (or idea) to an(other) idea. I find a statement of this account, which Hume applies initially to what he calls the second system of realities, in Treatise 1.3.9. After rejecting other accounts of Hume’s epistemic naturalism, I show how the determinacy account handles the cases Hume considers later in Treatise 1.3.
110. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Helen Beebee Hume’s Two Definitions: The Procedural Interpretation
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Hume scholars have long disputed how we should understand his famous “two definitions” of causation. A serious problem with existing accounts is that they fit uneasily with Hume’s claim in the Treatise that the two definitions correspond to causation considered separately as a “natural” and as a “philosophical” relation. This paper advances a new interpretation of the two definitions, according to which they represent an account of two different psychological mechanisms that generate causal judgments. This interpretation is fully consistent with Hume’s claim that the two definitions map onto his distinction between natural and philosophical relations, once that distinction is itself properly understood.
book reviews
111. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Esther Kroeker Thomas Reid. Essays on the Active Powers of Man. Edited by James A. Harris and Knud Haakonssen
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112. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Gerald J. Postema Annette C. Baier. The Cautious, Jealous Virtue: Hume on Justice
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113. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
James Fieser The Hume Literature 2010
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114. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Index to Volume 37
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115. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 2
Hume Studies Referees, 2010–2011
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116. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Mark Collier Hume’s Science of Emotions: Feeling Theory without Tears
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We must rethink the status of Hume’s science of emotions. Contemporary philosophers typically dismiss Hume’s account on the grounds that he mistakenly identifies emotions with feelings. But the traditional objections to Hume’s feeling theory are not as strong as commonly thought. Hume makes several important contributions, moreover, to our understanding of the operations of the emotions. His claims about the causal antecedents of the indirect passions receive support from studies in appraisal theory, for example, and his suggestions concerning the social dimensions of self-conscious emotions can help guide future research in this field. His dual-component hypothesis concerning the processing of emotions, furthermore, suggests a compromise solution to a recalcitrant debate in cognitive science. Finally, Hume’s proposals concerning the motivational influences of pride, and the conventional nature of emotional display rules, are vindicated by recent work in social psychology.
117. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Jonas Olson Projectivism and Error in Hume’s Ethics
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This essay argues that while Hume believes both that morality is grounded in our ordinary moral practices, sentiments, and beliefs, and that moral properties are real, he also holds that ordinary moral thinking involves systematically erroneous beliefs about moral properties. These claims, on their face, seem difficult to square with one another but this paper argues that on Hume’s view, they are reconcilable. The reconciliation is effected by making a distinction between Hume’s descriptive metaethics, that is, his account of vulgar moral thought and discourse, and his revisionary metaethics, that is, his account of how vulgar moral thought and discourse could be reformed so as to no longer involve error. This essay concludes that Hume is a projectivist and an error theorist in descriptive metaethics, while he is a projectivist and a subjectivist in revisionary metaethics.
118. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Carl Wennerlind The Role of Political Economy in Hume’s Moral Philosophy
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Hume insisted that property serve as the foundation of society because it best promotes the greatest amount of industry and therefore contributes to public utility. Industry thus plays a central role in Hume’s theory of justice. Given that Hume extensively discussed the social, political, cultural, and moral implications of industry in the Political Discourses, I suggest that Hume’s economic writings should be understood as an integral part of his overall philosophical project. In offering a parallel reading of the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals and the Political Discourses, I argue that Hume’s theory of justice does not resolve into a mere theory of property, as many philosophers complain, but rather, emerges as a rich account of how justice both generates the greatest material affluence and promotes the formation of the most virtuous society.
119. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Karánn Durland Extreme Skepticism and Commitment in the Treatise
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The extreme skepticism that Hume’s dangerous dilemma introduces at the end of the first Book of the Treatise is deeply unsettling, in part because it seems to undermine Hume’s commitments to common life and philosophy, but also because Hume seems not to take its sweeping doubts seriously. He refuses to abandon his daily activities and philosophical pursuits, and he offers no clear account of what entitles him to sustain them. This paper explores a variety of tactics for addressing these opposing elements of his thought. The most radical approach has Hume endorse nothing whatsoever in the Treatise, a maneuver that prevents any conflict between his doubts and his commitments from arising, though at a tremendous cost. A more charitable strategy allows Hume to speak with one consistent voice throughout the text by rejecting, repurposing, or restricting either his doubts or his commitments in a way that resolves the tension between them. Yet a third approach takes Hume to advance incompatible and irreconcilable positions but holds that the inconsistency in his thinking is not as destructive as it initially appears. None of the most promising ways of developing these proposals eliminates or satisfactorily eases the conflict in Hume’s work, and the enormous obstacles that they face give us little reason to hope for something better.
120. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Jennifer Smalligan Marušić Belief and Introspective Knowledge in Treatise 1.3.7
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Hume argues that the difference between belief and mere conception consists in a difference in the manner of conception. His argument assumes that the difference between belief and mere conception must be a function of either the content conceived or of the manner of conception; however, it is unclear what justifies this assumption. I argue that the assumption depends on Hume’s confidence that we can know immediately that we believe when we believe, and that we can only have such knowledge of intrinsic features of our perceptions. I then claim that Hume’s argument against the view that the difference between belief and mere conception is a function of the content conceived faces a difficulty, because it relies on an apparently implausible view about mental representation. I propose an interpretation of the argument that avoids the difficulty and explains Hume’s puzzling claim that his account of belief answers “a new question unthought of by philosophers.”