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Summary

Hume approaches topics in metaphysics and epistemology via his theory of ideas and the cognitive faculties. In metaphysics, his primary interest is in questions not of the form ‘What is X?’ but of the form ‘What can we conceive X to be?’ His best-known contribution is his argument that causation, as far as we can conceive it, is just regular succession among objects or events, plus our habit of inferring one object or event from another. He also made important contributions concerning space and time, existence, identity, substances, and free will. In epistemology, his primary interest is in questions of the form ‘Which of our cognitive faculties is responsible for our belief in X?’ His best-known contribution is his argument that habit, not reason, engages us to suppose that unobserved events will resemble observed ones (a view concerning what philosophers now call induction). He also made important contributions concerning the distinction between the a priori and the a posteriori, belief in the external world, and religious belief.

Key works

Books that discuss Hume's views about a range of topics in metaphysics and epistemology (construed broadly, so as to include philosophy of mind, action and language) include Stroud 1977Garrett 1997 and Allison 2008Fogelin 1985 and Loeb 2002 are devoted to his epistemology. For three different approaches to his theory of causation, see Blackburn 1990, Kail 2007 and Millican 2009. For two different approaches to his argument about induction, see Owen 1999 and Peter Millican's article 'Hume's Sceptical Doubts Concerning Induction,' in Millican 2001.

Introductions

Three introductory books that take quite different approaches to Hume's metaphysics and epistemology are Ayer 1980Blackburn 2008 and Wright 2009Norton & Taylor 2006 contains helpful introductory articles on Hume's views about several topics in metaphysics and epistemology.

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  1. Hume’un Nedensellik, Tümevarım ve Metafizik Problemi.Saniye Vatansever - 2021 - Felsefi Düsün 16 (16):1-30.
    Bu makalede David Hume’un nedensellik ve tümevarımsal çıkarımların akılsal gerekçelendirilmesine karşı eleştirileri incelenecek ve bu eleştirilerin geleneksel metafiziğin olanaklılığına dair temel bir probleme işaret ettiği savunulacaktır. Hume’un nedensellik ilkesine ve bu ilkenin ima ettiği zorunlu nedensel ilişkilerin varlığına dair eleştirel argümanları ayrıntılı bir şekilde analiz edilerek, nedensellik probleminin nasıl olup da bizi tümevarımsal çıkarımlarımızın gerekçelendirilmesiyle ilgili olan tümevarım problemine götürdüğü gösterilecektir. Görüleceği gibi, Hume’a göre nedensellik ve tümevarımsal çıkarımların ortak problemi her ikisinin de genel geçer doğrular olarak kabul edilen ancak (...)
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  2. Dos Milagres Ou Das Crenças Causais Ilegítimas, Em David Hume.Rubens Sotero Santos - 2020 - Griot : Revista de Filosofia 20 (2):99-108.
    Abordaremos aqui as crenças causais em milagres a partir do método experimental usado por Hume a fim de saber se tais crenças podem ser ditas legítimas ou não. Dessa forma, teremos duas possibilidades: ou os critérios usados para julgar crenças causais confirmam a legitimidade de milagres, e então teremos que assumir que tais critérios são demasiados falhos ao dar conta da natureza dos milagres – uma vez que são contrários à experiência. Ou, então, os critérios usados para julgar crenças causais (...)
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  3. David Hume E Karl Popper: Relexões Sobre Indução E Dedução.Maria Magdalena Cunha de Mendonça - 2015 - Griot : Revista de Filosofia 12 (2):50-65.
    Procuraremos neste artigo revisitar a compreensão do filósofo escocês, David Hume acerca da noção de causalidade, partindo dos textos Investigação acerca do Entendimento Humano, Tratado da Natureza Humana, e os Diálogos sobre a religião natural. Em seguida se apresenta uma exposição e análise do que Karl Popper denomina “problema de Hume” e a metodologia da falseabilidade de teorias científicas por ele proposta em Conhecimento Objetivo, Conjecturas e Refutações, Lógica da Pesquisa Científica.
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  4. A Metamorfose Das Ideias: Os Sentidos Das Impressões Em Hume.Guilherme Müller Junior - 2017 - Griot : Revista de Filosofia 16 (2):253-269.
    O cerne da problemática empirista de Hume está na questão do estatuto da experiência. Esse conceito se desdobra, em sua filosofia, nas distinções que ele faz entre as diferentes impressões, entre os diferentes processos originários de ideias. Sejam elas simples ou complexas, de sensação ou de reflexão, cada impressão produz uma determinada ideia. Cada impressão, portanto, corresponde a um processo específico de produção das ideias. O presente artigo tem como propósito investigar o estatuto das impressões em Hume, bem como o (...)
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  5. Ludzka natura i społeczność ludzka. Dawid Hume o początkach państwa.Adam Grzeliński - 2007 - Humanistyka I Przyrodoznawstwo 13:123-136.
    Artykuł rekonstruuje najważniejsze elementy filozofii polityki Dawida Hume’a dotyczące możliwość ukonstytuowania się państwa. Zdaniem szkockiego filozofa warunkiem wyjścia ze stanu natury jest określenie praw własności, które w dalszej konsekwencji prowadzi do stworzenia prawa pozytywnego oraz wskazania reguł sprawowania władzy. Hume wskazuje na psychologiczne przesłanki powstania państwa, odnajdując je w naturalnej dla wszystkich ludzi motywacji egoistycznej i ograniczonej życzliwości. Wizja powstania państwa, wynikająca ze sposobu, w jaki Hume rozumiał udział rozumu i namiętności w ludzkim doświadczeniu, stanowi jednocześnie kontynuację krytycznego namysłu nad (...)
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  6. Metafisica dogmatica e metafisica critica: ancora su Hume e Kant.Miguel Lobos Zuzunaga - 2021 - Quaestio 20:534-538.
  7. Hume and the ‘Secret Connexion’: Why Causation is a Singular Affair.Robin Le Poidevin - 2021 - Think 20 (58):9-22.
    The great Scottish Enlightenment man of letters David Hume offered an account of causation in terms of regularities: repeated pairings of certain kinds of events. Anything more than this, a supposed ‘secret connexion’ binding individual causes and effects, is not something we could ever experience. This, at least, is the view traditionally ascribed to him. Here the account, and its empiricist motivation, is outlined, and a fundamental problem identified: his account of causation is in tension with his account of the (...)
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  8. Niilismo E Crença No Diálogo David Hume de Jacobi.Luiz Fernando Barrére Martin - 2020 - Discurso 50 (2):133-146.
    Podemos afirmar de modo fundamental que a crítica de Jacobi à filosofia deriva de seu afastamento do sensível em direção à constituição de verdades cada vez mais abstratas e passíveis de demonstração. Com isso a filosofia apenas conseguiu gerar disputas a respeito do que ela seja, sem conseguir demonstrar qual posição filosófica deu conta da tarefa e que terminam por levar à perda de confiança no empreendimento, ou em outras palavras, levar ao ceticismo. Trata-se aqui de, sem desconsiderar a influência (...)
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  9. O Raciocínio Indutivo Em David Hume E Thomas Reid.Pablo Fernando Campos Pimentel - 2018 - Cognitio: Revista de Filosofia 18 (2):243.
    Este artigo busca apresentar de forma concisa o denominado Problema da Indução em David Hume e Thomas Reid. Em Hume, tem-se a recusa profunda de os raciocínios indutivos serem fruto ou resultado de um processo racional. No entanto, em Reid, para além de uma recusa em um processo dito racional, há o apelo àquilo que este chamou de princípios constitutivos da mente humana. Hume apela a um ceticismo epistemológico no qual se viu enredado, ao passo que Reid opta por um (...)
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  10. On Mary Shepherd's Essay Upon the Relation of Cause and Effect.Jessica Wilson - forthcoming - In Eric Schliesser (ed.), Neglected Classics of Philosophy, II. Oxford University Press.
    Mary Shepherd (1777–1847) was a fierce and brilliant critic of Berkeley and Hume, who moreover offered strikingly original positive views about the nature of reality and our access to it which deserve much more attention (and credit, since she anticipates many prominent views) than they have received thus far. By way of illustration, I focus on Shepherd's 1824 Essay Upon the Relation of Cause and Effect, Controverting the Doctrine of Mr. Hume, Concerning the Nature of that Relation (ERCE). After a (...)
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  11. Hume's Combinatorial Modal Theory.Ariel Alejandro Melamedoff - manuscript
    David Hume is committed to the claim that the imagination can separate, mix, and recombine its objects at will. Given the close connection between what is imaginable and what is metaphysically possible for Hume, we can learn about the range of metaphysical possibility by investigating the limits of the Humean imagination. In this paper, I argue that Hume is committed to the view that for any external relation (spatiotemporal, causal, or identity-over-time), if that relation could be imagined among some objects, (...)
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  12. The Dual Account of Reason and the Spirit of Philosophy in Hume's Treatise.Erik W. Matson - 2021 - Hume Studies 43 (2):29-56.
  13. Hume's Purely Practical Response to Philosophical Skepticism.Nathan I. Sasser - 2021 - Hume Studies 43 (2):3-28.
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  14. O nieracjonalności potępiania samobójstwa w poglądach Davida Hume’a i Jamesa Hillmana.Joanna Smakulska - 2021 - Ruch Filozoficzny 76 (3):203.
  15. Hume’a rozum ateologiczny.Tomasz Sieczkowski - 2021 - Ruch Filozoficzny 76 (3):187.
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  16. David Hume’un “İntihar Üzerine” ve “Ruhun Ölümsüzlüğü Üzerine” Denemeleri (David Hume’s Essays “On Suicide” and “The Immortality of Soul”).Funda Neslioglu Serin - 2017 - Mavi Atlas 5 (2):302-321.
    “İntihar Üzerine” (Ek 1) ve “Ruhun Ölümsüzlüğü Üzerine” (Ek 2) denemeleri, David Hume’un din bağlamında dogmatik inanışları, uslamlamaları en keskin bir biçimde eleştirdiği yazılarıdır. Görgül felsefesinin temel doğruları ve izlediği kuşkucu yöntem uyarınca ortaya koyduğu sonuçlar, bu denemelerin hem yayınlandıkları dönemde hem de sonrasında pek çok olumsuz eleştiriyle karşılaşmasına yol açmıştır. İnsanın doğasına ilişkin her türlü konuyu soruşturma niyetliliği ile yola çıkan Hume, dogmatik dinin ve uygulamalarının köklendiği inanışları ve uslamlamalarını da aynı niyetle irdelemiştir. Özellikle döneminde yaşanan toplumsal sorunların bu (...)
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  17. Complex Ideas and Hume’s Separability Principle.Hsueh M. Qu - forthcoming - Mind.
    In this paper, I will argue that a number of Hume’s claims generate a putative inconsistency with regard to complex ideas and independent existence. I first provide a prima facie argument for the existence of this inconsistency. Then, I examine a number of attempts to rescue Hume from this problem, and argue that each of them fails, before proposing my own solution.
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  18. Piety Without Metaphysics: The Moral Pedagogy of Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.Joshua P. Hochschild - 2020 - Urbaniana University Journal 73 (3):73-99.
    Urbaniana University Journal 73.3 (2020): 73-99. -/- A close reading of Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion reveals that it is not what it appears. Rather than a work of natural theology, meant to show something about arguments concerning the existence and nature of God, the Dialogues turn out to embody a moral pedagogy exemplifying and attempting to instill a conception of piety and religion as virtues. This paper defends this interpretation by reviewing three alternative, but ultimately inadequate, interpretations of the (...)
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  19. Sextus, Montaigne, Hume: Pyrrhonizers.Brian C. Ribeiro - 2021 - Brill.
    Brian C. Ribeiro’s _Sextus, Montaigne, Hume: Pyrrhonizers_ invites us to view the Pyrrhonist tradition as involving all those who share a commitment to the activity of Pyrrhonizing and develops fresh, provocative readings of Sextus, Montaigne, and Hume as radical Pyrrhonizing skeptics.
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  20. Hume on Nonhuman Animals, Causal Reasoning, and General Thoughts.Ryo Tanaka - forthcoming - Southern Journal of Philosophy.
    The Southern Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  21. Prescription, Description, and Hume's Experimental Method.Hsueh Qu - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 2 (24):279-301.
    There seems a potential tension between Hume’s naturalistic project and his normative ambitions. Hume adopts what I call a methodological naturalism: that is, the methodology of providing explanations for various phenomena based on natural properties and causes. This methodology takes the form of introducing ‘the experimental method of reasoning into moral subjects’, as stated in the subtitle of the Treatise; this ‘experimental method’ seems a paradigmatically descriptive one, and it remains unclear how Hume derives genuinely normative prescriptions from this methodology. (...)
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  22. Shepherd on Hume’s Argument for the Possibility of Uncaused Existence.David Landy - 2020 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 2 (1):13.
    Shepherd’s argument against Hume’s thesis that an object can begin its existence uncaused has received short shrift in the secondary literature. I argue that the key to understanding that argument’s success is understanding its dialectical context. Shepherd sees the dialectical situation as follows. Hume presents an argument against Locke and Clarke the conclusion of which is that an object can come into existence uncaused. An essential premise of that argument is Hume’s theory of mental representation. Hume’s theory of mental representation, (...)
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  23. Review of Abraham Anderson's Kant, Hume, and the Interruption of Dogmatic Slumber. [REVIEW]Adam Andreotta - 2020 - Phenomenological Reviews.
  24. Razão Dos Animais Em Hume E Nos Céticos Modernos.Flávio Miguel de Oliveira Zimmermann - 2013 - Cadernos Espinosanos 29.
    O pensamento de Hume pode ser comparado ao dos céticos modernos em muitos aspectos. Com relação ao tópico da racionalidade dos animais, Hume parece seguir de perto a leitura de alguns céticos modernos e se afastar consideravelmente da de Descartes. Por outro lado, diferente de filósofos como Montaigne, Charron e La Mothe Le Vayer, Hume não tinha por finalidade colocar a racionalidade humana num nível próximo dos animais para apenas provar a fraqueza do intelecto diante do desconhecido, mas intentava comparar (...)
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  25. Sobre o Ceticismo Acadêmico de Huet, Foucher E Hume.Flávio Miguel De Oliveira Zimmermann - 2008 - Cadernos Espinosanos 18:71.
    Richard Popkin, no capítulo VII de sua “História do ceticismo de Erasmo a Spinoza”, apresenta uma tendência predominante na filosofia moderna de rejeitar o ceticismo pirrônico, por ser demasiado destrutivo, e o dogmatismo extremo, por ser questionável. A solução para esses partidários foi a de adotar um ceticismo que Popkin denomina mitigado ou construtivo, isto é, uma teoria que reconheça a impossibilidade de alcançarmos as verdades absolutas acerca da natureza e realidade, mas que admita a possibilidade de um certo conhecimento, (...)
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  26. Hume’s Law, Moore’s Open Question, and Aquinas’s “Human Intellect” in Advance.Augusto Trujillo Werner - forthcoming - Philosophy and Theology.
  27. David Hume: Common-Sense Moralist, Sceptical Metaphysician.David Fate Norton - 1982 - Princeton University Press.
  28. Hume and Hutcheson.James Moore - 1995 - In M. A. Stewart & John P. Wright (eds.), Hume and Hume's Connexions. pp. 23-57.
  29. A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40).David Hume - 1978 - Oxford University Press.
  30. Hume. A Collection of Critical Essays.V. C. Chappell (ed.) - 1966 - Macmillan.
  31. David Hume & Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Common Approach to Common Sense?Derek McDougall - 2021 - Wittgenstein-Studien 12 (1):111-120.
    With characteristic candour, David Hume is prepared to admit that in ordinary life, but certainly not when reflecting on the nature of perceptual experience, he has no option but to ‘believe in the existence of body’ despite his philosophical reasonings to the contrary. In this instance, his commitment to ‘Common Sense’ has become, as it was not to become for his contemporary Thomas Reid, a direct consequence of participating in a day-to-day existence if nevertheless one which he has no option (...)
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  32. Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi: David Hume über den Glauben oder Idealismus und Realismus (1787) / Jacobi an Fichte (1799). Herausgegeben von Oliver Koch. Philosophische Bibliothek 719. Auf der Grundlage d. [REVIEW]Martin Walter - 2020 - Philosophische Rundschau 67 (3):267.
  33. Locke ve Hume'un Kişisel Özdeşlik Anlayışları Bağlamında Benlik, Bellek ve Bilinç.Eren Rızvanoğlu - 2020 - Beytulhikme An International Journal of Philosophy 10 (10:3):957-975.
  34. Counseling Hume.Elliot D. Cohen - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Practice 3 (4):28-38.
    David Hume is well known for his philosophical doubts about such things as whether there is an external world beyond our sense perception, and whether there are any rational grounds for believing that the future will resemble the past. But what would it be like to entertain such doubts in the context of one’s everyday life? In this paper, a fictional dialogue is provided in which a descendent of David Hume who brings such skeptical doubts to life, and consequently suffers (...)
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  35. Skepticism and Incomprehensibility in Bayle and Hume.John Wright - 2019 - In The Skeptical Enlightenment: Doubt and Certainty in the Age of Reason. Liverpool, UK: pp. 129-60.
    I argue that incomprehensibility (what the ancient skeptics called acatalepsia) plays a central role in the skepticism of both Bayle and Hume. I challenge a commonly held view (recently argued by Todd Ryan) that Hume, unlike Bayle, does not present oppositions of reason--what Kant called antimonies.
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  36. Od Bacona Do Hume’a – Istota I Odcienie Empiryzmu W Nowożytnej Anglii.Bolesław Andrzejewski - 2012 - Filozofia Publiczna I Edukacja Demokratyczna 1 (2):146-154.
    The aim of the article is to give a brief overview of English empiricism, particularly in modern philosophy. The paper will firstly examine the pre-enlightenment thought of F. Bacon, upon which it will discuss the empiricism of J. Locke, G. Berkeley and D. Hume. The general conclusion of the paper has it that although empiricism has assumed different shades, it has always permeated English culture.
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  37. Correction to: “Till at last there remain nothing”: Hume’s Treatise 1.4.1 in contemporary perspective.David Atkinson & Jeanne Peijnenburg - 2020 - Synthese 197 (10):4637-4637.
    The original article has been corrected. Erroneously, a comma and a space were added in line 164 to 500, 500, and the authors would like readers to know that this should instead read 500,500.
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  38. On Effort and Causal Power: Maine de Biran’s Critique of Hume Revisited.Mark Sinclair - 2020 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 28 (5):903-922.
    Rejections of Hume’s account of agency as ‘implausible’ and ‘defective’ have not been uncommon in recent commentary, but these responses have been elaborated without acknowledgement that Maine de B...
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  39. Constantine Sandis, Character and Causation: Hume's Philosophy of Action. [REVIEW]Enrico Galvagni - 2020 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 18 (3):333-338.
  40. Marching on the Capital: Hume's Experimental Science of Man as a Conquest for Occupied Territory.Gabriel Watts - 2020 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 18 (3):233-255.
    In this paper I set out what I call a ‘conquest’ conception of Hume's experimental science of man. It is notable, I claim, that Hume regards what he calls the ‘capital’ of the sciences – ‘the science of MAN’ – as occupied territory, and that he views his ‘direct’ method of approach upon the science of human nature as a ‘conquest’. I expand upon such statements by leveraging the comparison that Hume draws between experimental moral philosophy and the experimental tradition (...)
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  41. The Science in Hume's Science of Man.Tamás Demeter - 2020 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 18 (3):257-271.
    This paper sketches a recently emerging divide between two interpretations of Hume's methodology and philosophy of science. On the first interpretation Hume relies on an inductive methodology and provides a dynamic theory of the mind, and his philosophy of science reflects this methodology. On the second, Hume relies on inferences to the best explanation via comparative analysis of instances, and offers an anatomy of the mind relying on a chemical and organic imagery. The paper also aspires to lean the reader's (...)
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  42. The Role of Instinct in David Hume's Conception of Human Reason.James Hill - 2020 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 18 (3):273-288.
    This article investigates the role of instinct in Hume's understanding of human reason. It is shown that while in the Treatise Hume makes the strong reductive assertion that reason is ‘nothing but’ an instinct, in the First Enquiry the corresponding statement has been modified in several ways, rendering the relation between instinct and reason more complex. Most importantly, Hume now explicitly recognises that alongside instinctive experimental reasoning, there is a uniquely human intellectual power of intuitive and demonstrative reason that is (...)
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  43. Deleuze's Transcendental Empiricism Against Speculative Realism: How Deleuze's Hume Avoids the Challenge of Correlationism.Kyle Novak - 2020 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 34 (3):297-308.
    In this article I argue that Gilles Deleuze's reading of David Hume in his early work Empiricism and Subjectivity avoids the central claim made by speculative realists that all post-Kantian philosophy suffers from what they call correlationism. My claim is not that Deleuze's reading of Hume produces a non-correlationist ontology, but that it leads him to a non-ontological constructivist philosophy. In Deleuze's terms, this produces a transcendental empiricism of "thinking with AND, instead of thinking IS, instead of thinking for IS."1I (...)
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  44. Schopenhauer and Hume on Will and Causation.Severin Schroeder - 2018 - In Robert L. Wicks (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Schopenhauer. Oxford University Press.
  45. How a Critical Humean Naturalism is Possible: Contesting the Neo-Aristotelian Reading.Martin Hartmann - forthcoming - Sage Publications Ltd: Philosophy and Social Criticism.
    Philosophy & Social Criticism, Ahead of Print. Ethical naturalists such as Philippa Foot, John McDowell or Sabina Lovibond have critically distinguished their version of naturalism from the version ascribed to David Hume. This article defends Hume’s naturalism against this criticism in constructing a more plausible version of it. The article briefly delineates John McDowell’s reading of Hume in his well-known ‘Two Sorts of Naturalism’. Based on Nietzsche, the article then offers the concept of ‘historical naturalism’ as alternative to McDowell’s reading, (...)
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  46. Promesse Et Fiction Chez David Hume.Vincent Boyer - 2020 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 3:129.
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  47. Inferencia no demostrativa y causalidad: Russell y el problema de Hume.Ruth M. Espinosa Sarmiento - 2015 - Cuadernos Salmantinos de Filosofía 42:27-42.
    En este artículo se abordan las perspectivas de David Hume y Bertrand Rus-sell en tormo dos asuntos estrechamente vinculados, a saber, el problema de la justificación de la inferencia no demostrativa y de la validez del principio de causalidad, ambos configu-ran el así llamado “problema de Hume”. Desde una perspectiva analítica y comparativa, se intenta mostrar que a pesar de la lectura fuertemente crítica que Russell adopta respecto del filósofo escocés, ambos filósofos comparten en cierta medida un programa filosófico común. (...)
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  48. Hume, the Pyrrhonian [Zuzana Parusniková, „David Hume, Sceptic”, Springer, Heidelberg 2016, 124 Pp.]. [REVIEW]Adam Chmielewski - 2020 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 14 (4):129-133.
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  49. Lady Mary Shepherd and David Hume on Cause and Effect.Martha Brandt Bolton - 2019 - In Eileen O’Neill & Marcy P. Lascano (eds.), Feminist History of Philosophy: The Recovery and Evaluation of Women’s Philosophical Thought. Springer. pp. 129-152.
    Shepherd propounds a theory of mind with a fair claim to be better than Hume’s at explaining the sources of commonly held human beliefs about causal necessity due largely to her relational theory of sense perception. In comparison with Hume’s account, it incorporates a more sophisticated treatment of mental representation, especially the role of relational structure and logical form. Most important, perhaps, Shepherd’s theory enforces the division, obscured by Hume, between the evidence of necessity and the metaphysical foundation of necessity.
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  50. "Hume's Reasons".Aaron Zimmerman - 2007 - Hume Studies 2 (33):211-256.
    Hume's claim that reason is a slave to the passions involves both a causal thesis: reason cannot cause action without the aid of the passions, and an evaluative thesis: it is improper to evaluate our actions in terms of their reasonableness. On my reading, Hume motivates his causal thesis by arguing that accurate representation is the function of reason, where a faculty of this kind cannot produce action on its own. (The interpretation helps vindicate Hume of the common charge that (...)
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