Hume's Methodology and the Science of Human Nature

In this paper I try to explain a strange omission in Hume’s methodological descriptions in his first Enquiry. In the course of this explanation I reveal a kind of rationalistic tendency of the latter work. It seems to contrast with “experimental method” of his early Treatise of Human Nature, but, as I show that there is no discrepancy between the actual methods of both works, I make an attempt to explain the change in Hume’s characterization of his own methods. This attempt leads to the question about his interpretation of the science of human nature. I argue that his view on this science was not a constant one and that initially he identified this science with his account of passions. As this presupposes the primacy of Book 2 of his Treatise I try to find new confirmations of the old hypothesis that this Book had been written before the Book 1, dealing with understanding. Finally, I show that this discussion of Hume’s methodology may be of some interest to proponents of conceptual analysis.
Keywords Hume  Methodology  Conceptual analysis  Science of human nature  Syllogism  Deduction  Kemp Smith  Demonstration  Treatise of Human Nature
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PhilPapers Archive Vadim V. Vasilyev, Hume's Methodology and the Science of Human Nature
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