Liberty, Necessity and the Foundations of Hume's 'Science of Man'

History of the Human Sciences 25 (1):15-31 (2012)
In this article I suggest that section VIII of Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding could be read as a contribution to the foundational issues of a characteristic 18th-century enterprise, namely the ‘science of man’. More specifically, it can be read as a summary of his attempt to place this science on an experimental footing, with an awareness of the lessons he has drawn in the previous sections of the Enquiry. This interpretation fits with an overall reading of the work as responding to the epistemological problems that arise in the context of then-contemporary ways of knowledge production. As I argue, this section is relevant for the methodology of a science of human nature. The main problems it addresses are the following. What kind of knowledge can we hope for about human beings, and how should we pursue it? What are the meaningful questions that can be asked, and what is beyond the reach of this kind of inquiry? Answering these questions sets the scope and limits of this science.
Keywords Hume
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0952695111429416
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 32,634
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume & Tom L. Beauchamp - 2000 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 190 (2):230-231.
The Illusion of Conscious Will.Daniel Wegner - 2004 - Mind 113 (449):218-221.
Second Thoughts on Paradigms.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1977 - In F. Suppe (ed.), The Essential Tension. University of Chicago Press. pp. 293--319.
Hume's Determinism.Peter Millican - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (4):611-642.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Hume's Methodology and the Science of Human Nature.Vadim V. Vasilyev - 2013 - History of Philosophy Yearbook 2012:62-115.
Hume's Skepticism.Dennis Farrell Thompson - 1998 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.Hume David - 1955 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), The Monist. Oxford University Press. pp. 112.
Hume on Free Will.Paul Russell - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Hume’s Progressive View of Human Nature.Michael Gill - 2000 - Hume Studies 26 (1):87-108.
Hume's Scepticism and Realism.Jani Hakkarainen - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (2):283-309.
Hume and the Enactive Approach to Mind.Tom Froese - 2009 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (1):95-133.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
32 ( #184,755 of 2,236,108 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #148,981 of 2,236,108 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature