Despite his well-known criticisms of popular religion, Hume refers in seemingly complimentary terms to ‘true religion’; in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, his character Philo goes so far as to express ‘veneration for’ it. This paper addresses three questions. First, did Hume himself really approve of something that he called ‘true religion’? Second, what did he mean by calling it ‘true’? Third, what did he take it to be? By appeal to some of his key doctrines about causation and probability, and (...) to some key features of the characters and content of the Dialogues, I argue, contrary to important recent interpretations by Immerwahr and Falkenstein, that Hume's ‘true religion’ is a doctrine, enunciated by Philo, that he regarded as true in an epistemic sense. (shrink)
P. J. E. Kail's Projection and Realism in Hume's Philosophy is an excellent book, consisting—like Hume's Treatise itself—of three excellent parts. I will comment on one central aspect of its second part: its explanation of the source of the second thoughts that Hume famously expressed, with a frustrating lack of specificity, about his own initial discussion of personal identity in the Treatise.As is well known, Hume holds in the section "Of personal identity" (T 1.4.6) that a self, mind, or person (...) is "nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions" (T 18.104.22.168; SBN 252) and, more specifically, a "system of different perceptions or different existences link'd together by the relation of cause and .. (shrink)
Hume's Morality: Feeling and Fabrication 1 is a most useful and agreeable book. It contains a wealth of analysis, argument, and insight about many of the most central elements of the moral theory of one of the greatest moral philosophers in human history: David Hume. The book is well-conceived, well-argued, stimulating, informative, clear, precise, thorough, balanced, nuanced, and ingenious, while evincing—especially in its concluding chapter, when considering possible extensions of Hume's theory—a certain subtle but pleasing "warmth in the cause of (...) virtue." As Hume would be the first to recognize, these traits of the book are indications of the personal merit of its author: Rachel Cohon. Indeed, if Cleanthes .. (shrink)
Is Hume a naturalist? Does he regard all or nearly all beliefs and actions as rationally unjustified? In order to settle these questions, it is necessary to examine their key terms (‘naturalism’ and ‘rational justification’) and to understand the character—especially the normative character—of Hume’s philosophical project. This paper argues (i) that Hume is a naturalist—and, in particular, both a moral and an epistemic naturalist—in quite robust ways; and (ii) that Hume can properly regard many actions and beliefs as “rationally justified” (...) in several different senses of that term. (shrink)
Hume argues that respect for property (“justice”) is a convention-dependent (“artificial”) virtue. He does so by appeal to a principle, derived from his virtue-based approach to ethics, which requires that, for any kind of virtuous action, there be a “first virtuous motive” that is other than a sense of moral duty. It has been objected, however, that in the case of justice (and also in a parallel argument concerning promise-keeping) Hume (i) does not, (ii) should not, and (iii) cannot recognize (...) such a motive. This paper defends Hume’s argument against these three objections. (shrink)
Hume is a naturalist in many different respects and about many different topics; this paper argues that he is also a naturalist about intentionality and representation. It does so in the course of answering four questions about his theory of mental representation: (1) Which perceptions represent? (2) What can perceptions represent? (3) Why do perceptions represent at all? (4) Howdo perceptions represent what they do? It appears that, for Hume, all perceptions except passions can represent; and they can represent bodies, (...) minds, and persons, with their various qualities. In addition, ideas can represent impressions and other ideas. However, he explicitly rejects the view that ideas are inherently representational, and he implicitly adopts a view according to which things (whether mental or non-mental) represent in virtue of playing, through the production of mental effects and dispositions, a significant part of the causal and/or functional role of what they represent. It is in virtue of their particular functional roles that qualitatively identical ideas are capable of representing particulars or general kinds; substances or modes; relations; past, present, or future; and individuals or compounds. (shrink)
It is widely believed that Hume often wrote carelessly and contradicted himself, and that no unified, sound philosophy emerges from his writings. Don Garrett demonstrates that such criticisms of Hume are without basis. Offering fresh and trenchant solutions to longstanding problems in Hume studies, Garrett's penetrating analysis also makes clear the continuing relevance of Hume's philosophy.