Hume, Induction and Reason

Abstract
Hume’s view of reason is notoriously hard to pin down, not least because of the apparently contradictory positions which he appears to adopt in different places. The problem is perhaps most clear in his writings concerning induction - in his famous argument of Treatise I iii 6 and Enquiry IV, on the one hand, he seems to conclude that “probable inference” has no rational basis, while elsewhere, for example in much of his writing on natural theology, he seems happy to acknowledge that such inference is not only reasonable, but is even a paradigm of reasoning against which the theistic arguments must be judged. In the face of this apparent contradiction, many recent commentators have proferred “non-sceptical” interpretations of Hume’s argument concerning induction, but in this paper I sketch an alternative and perhaps less radical method of resolving the problem, by identifying a major threefold ambiguity in Hume’s use of the word “reason”. On this interpretation, Hume indeed sees induction as a paradigm of reasonableness in what is arguably the most important sense, but he nevertheless believes induction to be entirely non-reasonable in another sense, which though less important in common life is nevertheless very significant philosophically. A comparison with Locke can help to illuminate Hume’s position, which though indeed not entirely sceptical about induction, is by no means entirely non-sceptical either.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,322
External links
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

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Peter Lipton (2005). Waiting for Hume. In Marina Frasca-Spada & P. J. E. Kail (eds.), Impressions of Hume. Oxford University Press. 59.
Kazuyoshi Kamiyama (2008). No Need to Justify Induction Generally. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 53:105-111.
Fred Wilson (1984). Is Hume a Sceptic with Regard to Reason? Philosophy Research Archives 10:275-319.
Jani Hakkarainen (2012). Why Hume Cannot Be A Realist. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 10 (2):143-161.
Michael Rowan (1993). Stove on the Rationality of Induction and the Uniformity Thesis. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):561-566.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

27 ( #61,291 of 1,096,527 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #93,642 of 1,096,527 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.