David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):155-183 (2010)
Philosophical theories about the nature of belief can be roughly classified into two groups: those that treat beliefs as occurrent mental states or episodes and those that treat beliefs as dispositions. David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature seems to contain a classic example of an occurrence theory of belief as he defines 'belief' as 'a lively idea related to or associated with a present impression' (Treatise 184.108.40.206 96). This definition suggests that believing is an occurrent mental state, such as judging, or thinking about something in a particular manner. However, a number of Hume's readers claim to find elements in his writings that are suggestive of a dispositional account of belief. Moreover, these elements are sometimes taken as signs of the inadequacy of Hume's account of belief and his dissatisfaction with it. This paper argues that Hume does hold an occurrence theory of belief, that he has deep-seated reasons for doing so, and that this theory of belief has greater explanatory power than its critics generally allow. I contend in particular that beliefs play an explanatory role in Hume's Science of Man that could not be played by dispositions, but requires that beliefs be introspectible occurrent mental states. Attention to the role of belief in explaining our actions, thoughts, emotional responses, and reasoning reveals that Hume is committed to treating beliefs as occurrent states.
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Hsueh Qu (2014). Hume's Positive Argument on Induction. Noûs 48 (4):595-625.
Hsueh Qu (2014). Hume's Practically Epistemic Conclusions? Philosophical Studies 170 (3):501-524.
Similar books and articles
Annemarie Butler (2010). Vulgar Habits and Hume's Double Vision Argument. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 8 (2):169-187.
Ingvar Johansson (1998). Hume's Surprise and the Logic of Belief Changes. Synthese 117 (2):275-291.
P. J. E. Kail (2007). Understanding Hume's Natural History of Religion. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (227):190–211.
Brie Gertler (2011). Self-Knowledge and the Transparency of Belief. In Anthony Hatzimoysis (ed.), Self-Knowledge. Oxford University Press
Louis E. Loeb (2002). Stability and Justification in Hume's Treatise. Oxford University Press.
David Owen (2003). Locke and Hume on Belief, Judgment and Assent. Topoi 22 (1):15-28.
Louis E. Loeb (2001). Integrating Hume's Accounts of Belief and Justification. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):279-303.
Darrell P. Rowbottom (2007). 'In Between Believing' and Degrees of Belief. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):131-137.
Eric Schwitzgebel (2002). A Phenomenal, Dispositional Account of Belief. Noûs 36 (2):249-275.
Added to index2010-08-04
Total downloads108 ( #36,244 of 1,907,366 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #67,460 of 1,907,366 )
How can I increase my downloads?