Hume's Diffident Skepticism

Hume Studies 25 (1-2):43-65 (1999)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

One of the chief problems facing interpreters of Hume's philosophy is what I shall call the integration problem. It is a global problem inasmuch as it casts a shadow on every component of his philosophy, but does not directly affect how we interpret their details. The integration problem arises at the end of Book I of A Treatise of Human Nature, where Hume seemed to acknowledge that his account of human understanding, his logic, leads directly to total skepticism regarding both everyday beliefs and abstruse thought. Nonetheless, he neither reconsidered and repudiated this virulent skepticism nor aborted and disowned his investigation of human nature, the project announced in the Introduction to the Treatise. Instead, he continues with Books II and III, neither of which dwells on or even acknowledges the skepticism with which Book I concludes. The resulting puzzle is not just about his decision to publish the three books as one work, since Hume appears paradoxically to endorse the triumph of skepticism and, yet, continue his pursuit of just the kind of knowledge the triumph of skepticism would entirely preclude. How, one is led to ask, can Hume consistently integrate the destructive skepticism of Book I with the constructive project of explaining and understanding human nature? It is not surprising that a wide range of proposals have been put forward by Hume scholars in response to this question. The crux of every such proposal is specifying how the skepticism of Book I is to be regarded. Is it genuine, a mere facade, or something in between?

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,322

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Contrary miracles concluded.J. C. A. Gaskin - 1985 - Hume Studies 1985 (Supplement):1 - 14.
Hume's Skepticism.Dennis Farrell Thompson - 1998 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Two Puzzles in Hume's Epistemology.Mark Collier - 2008 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 25 (4):301 - 314.
Skeptical tranquility and Hume's manner of death.Lívia Guimarães - 2008 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 6 (2):115-134.
Hume's Skepticism.Michael Williams - 2008 - In John Greco (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism. Oxford University Press.
The Force of Hume’s Skepticism About Unobserved Matters of Fact.John Greco - 1998 - Journal of Philosophical Research 23:289-306.
Hume’s Empiricism and the Rationality of Induction.João Paulo Monteiro - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 7:139-149.
Exuberant skepticism.Paul Kurtz - 2010 - Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. Edited by John R. Shook.
Skepticism and religious belief in A treatise of human nature.Lívia Guimarães - 2009 - In Maia Neto, José Raimundo, Gianni Paganini & John Christian Laursen (eds.), Skepticism in the modern age: building on the work of Richard Popkin. Boston: Brill.

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-01-09

Downloads
46 (#335,597)

6 months
5 (#632,353)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Is Hume a Perspectivalist?Sam Zahn - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
Hume's Epistemology: The State of the Question.Hsueh M. Qu - 2019 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 57 (3):301-323.
Hume's Incredible Demonstrations.Graham Clay - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (1):55-77.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references