David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Dissertation, University of Massachusetts - Amherst (1998)
David Hume has traditionally been regarded as a skeptic, perhaps the most formidable in the history of Western philosophy. Since the publication of Norman Kemp Smith's Philosophy of David Hume in 1941, however, there has been an increasing tendency to downplay the skeptical dimension of Hume's philosophy, in some cases to the point of denying that Hume is a serious skeptic, or even a skeptic at all. Much of the motivation for a nonskeptical reading of Hume comes from recognition of his endorsement of empirical science and his own project of founding a "science of man." Recent scholarship has, in my opinion correctly, recognized Hume as a constructive rather than a purely destructive thinker. Yet this recognition has, in my opinion incorrectly, gone hand in hand with a tendency to overlook or deny the skeptical side of Hume's thought. In this work, I address the issue of Hume's skepticism. I believe that though the issue of Hume's skepticism is more complicated than is suggested by some of those who interpret him as a skeptic, nevertheless the traditional view is more true to Hume's texts than is a nonskeptical interpretation. I argue, on the basis of a reading of the Treatise of Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, that Hume is a serious theoretical skeptic with regard to much of our alleged knowledge. In saying that Hume is a serious theoretical skeptic I mean that (i) Hume's skeptical pronouncements are in general sincere, not ironic, (ii) Hume's skepticism extends to a large part of our alleged knowledge, and (iii) Hume's skepticism is a result of his substantive philosophical views. In saying that Hume is a serious theoretical skeptic I mean that though Hume doesn't prescribe eschewal of beliefs that are not rationally justified, he thinks that much of our alleged knowledge essentially involves beliefs that cannot be rationally justified and that hence much of our alleged knowledge is not knowledge at all.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
James Fieser (1989). Is Hume a Moral Skeptic? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (1):89-105.
Graciela De Pierris (2002). Causation as a Philosophical Relation in Hume. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3):499 - 545.
Mark Collier (2008). Two Puzzles in Hume's Epistemology. History of Philosophy Quarterly 25 (4):301 - 314.
Lívia Guimarães (2008). Skeptical Tranquility and Hume's Manner of Death. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 6 (2):115-134.
Colin Heydt (2010). The Riddle of Hume's Treatise :Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (3):401-402.
P. J. R. Millican (ed.) (2002). Reading Hume on Human Understanding: Essays on the First Enquiry. Oxford University Press.
Peter Millican (ed.) (2002). Reading Hume on Human Understanding: Essays on the First Enquiry. Oxford University Press.
Axel Gelfert (2010). Hume on Testimony Revisited. Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 13:60-75.
John Greco (1998). The Force of Hume's Skepticism About Unobserved Matters of Fact. Journal of Philosophical Research 23:289-306.
Sean Greenberg (2008). 'Naturalism' and 'Skepticism' in Hume's Treatise of Human Nature. Philosophy Compass 3 (4):721-733.
Don Garrett (1997). Cognition and Commitment in Hume's Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
Ira M. Schnall (2007). Hume on “Popular” and “Philosophical” Skeptical Arguments. Hume Studies 33 (1):41-66.
John Greco (2006). How to Be a Pragmatist: C. I. Lewis and Humean Skepticism. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 42 (1):24-31.
Added to index2010-09-10
Total downloads21 ( #77,069 of 1,096,515 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #90,211 of 1,096,515 )
How can I increase my downloads?