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Thomas Holden [7]Thomas Anand Holden [2]
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Profile: Thomas Holden (University of California at Santa Barbara)
  1. Thomas Holden (forthcoming). Hume's Absolute Necessity. Mind:fzu055.
    Hume regards the ‘absolute’ necessity attending demonstrable propositions as an expression of the limitations of human imagination. When we register our modal commitments in ordinary descriptive language, affirming that there are such-and-such absolute necessities, possibilities, and impossibilities, we are projecting our sense of what the human mind can and cannot conceive. In some ways the account parallels Hume’s famous treatment of the necessity of causes, and in some respects it anticipates recent expressivist theories of absolute modality. I marshal the evidence (...)
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  2. Thomas Holden (2011). 'The Modern Disciple of the Academy': Hume, Shelley, and Sir William Drummond. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 9 (2):161-188.
    Sir William Drummond (1770?-1828) enjoyed considerable notoriety in the early nineteenth century as the author of the Academical Questions (1805), a manifesto for immaterialism that is at the same time a creative synthesis of ancient and modern forms of scepticism. In this paper I advance an interpretation of Drummond's work that emphasises his extensive employment and adaptation of Hume's own ‘Academical or Sceptical Philosophy’. I also document the impact of the Academical Questions on the contemporary philosophical scene, including its decisive (...)
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  3. Thomas Holden (2010). Spectres of False Divinity: Hume's Moral Atheism. Oxford University Press.
    Spectres of False Divinity presents a historical and critical interpretation of Hume's rejection of the existence of a deity with moral attributes. In Hume's view, no first cause or designer responsible for the ordered universe could possibly have moral attributes; nor could the existence (or non-existence) of such a being have any real implications for human practice or conduct. Hume's case for this 'moral atheism' is a central plank of both his naturalistic agenda in metaphysics and his secularizing program in (...)
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  4. Thomas Holden (2007). Hume on Religious Affect. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89 (3):283-306.
    Although various points of Hume's canonical works hint at a critique of religious affect, his most explicit attack on such sentiments occurs in a letter of June 30th 1743 to his friend William Mure. In this letter Hume sets out an objection to all affective attitudes that are putatively directed toward God, and maintains that the Deity is not in fact the ‘natural object’ of any human passion. I examine this claim and canvass three possible interpretations of Hume's challenge to (...)
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  5. Thomas Holden (2007). Robert Boyle on Things Above Reason. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (2):283 – 312.
    Various early modern philosophers affirm the traditional distinction between ‘things above reason’ and ‘things contrary to reason.’ However, it is Robert Boyle who goes furthest to rework and defend the division, and to explore its ramifications in detail. My aim here is to examine the logical structure of Boyle’s version of the distinction, and his concomitant account of the sphere of truths beyond human understanding. I also weigh the philosophical merits of the account and clarify the relationship between Boyle’s characterization (...)
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  6. Thomas Holden (2005). Religion and Moral Prohibition in Hume's 'Of Suicide'. Hume Studies 31 (2):189-210.
    This paper presents a new analysis of the logical structure of Hume’s attack on the theological objection to suicide. I suggest that Hume intends his reasoning in “Of Suicide” to generalize, covering not just suicide but any arbitrary action: his implied conclusion is that no human action can violate a duty to God. I contrast my reading with a series of recent interpretations, and argue that the various criticisms of Hume’s reasoning are based on a misunderstanding of what he is (...)
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  7. Thomas Anand Holden (2004). Bayle and the Case for Actual Parts. Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (2):145-164.
    : Pierre Bayle is the most forthright and systematic early modern proponent of the actual parts doctrine, the period's counterpart to the 'doctrine of arbitrary undetached parts' familiar from current analytic mereology and metaphysics. In this paper I introduce both the actual parts account of the internal structure of matter and the rival system of potential parts. I then identify Bayle as the leading advocate of the actual parts doctrine and examine his arguments for this account.
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  8. Thomas Anand Holden (2004). The Architecture of Matter: Galileo to Kant. Oxford University Press.
    Thomas Holden presents a fascinating study of theories of matter in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These theories were plagued by a complex of interrelated problems concerning matter's divisibility, composition, and internal architecture. Is any material body infinitely divisible? Must we posit atoms or elemental minima from which bodies are ultimately composed? Are the parts of material bodies themselves material concreta? Or are they merely potentialities or possible existents? Questions such as these -- and the press of subtler questions hidden (...)
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  9. Thomas Holden (2002). Infinite Divisibility and Actual Parts in Hume’s Treatise. Hume Studies 28 (1):3-25.
    According to a standard interpretation of Hume’s argument against infinite divisibility, Hume is raising a purely formal problem for mathematical constructions of infinite divisibility, divorced from all thought of the stuffing or filling of actual physical continua. I resist this. Hume’s argument must be understood in the context of a popular early modern account of the metaphysical status of the parts of physical quantities. This interpretation disarms the standard mathematical objections to Hume’s reasoning; I also defend it on textual and (...)
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