Locke vs. Hume: Who is the better concept-empiricist?

Dialogue 46 (3):481-500 (2007)
Abstract
According to the received view, Hume is a much more rigorous and consistent concept-empiricist than Locke. Hume is supposed to have taken as a starting point Locke’s meaning-empiricism, and worked out its full radical implicalions. Locke, by way of contrast, cowered from drawing his theory’s strange consequences. The received view about Locke’s and Hume’s concept-empiricism is mistaken, I shall argue. Hume may be more uncompromising (although he too falters), but he is not more rigorous than Locke. It is not because of (intellectual) timidity that Locke does not draw Hume’s conclusions from his empiricism. It is, rather, because of his much sounder method.Selon l’opinion génerale, Hume est un empiriciste conceptuel beaucoup plus rigoureux et consistent que Locke. On croit que Hume a pris l’empiricisme des significations de Locke comme son point de depart et puis élabore toutes ses implifications radicales -- et que Locke, au contraire, se retire et évite de tirer les etranges conséquences de sa théorie. Je veux soutenir que l’opinion acceptée sur l’empiricisme conceptuel de Locke et Hume est en erreur. Hume est peut-être plus décidé (quoique lui, aussi, hésite) mais il n’est pas plus rigoureux que Locke. Si Locke ne tire pas les conclusions d’Hume de son empiricisme ce n’est pas a cause de sa timidite (intellectuelle). Plutôt, il le fait grace a sa methode beaucoup mieux fondée
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