Hume and Locke on Scientific Methodology: The Newtonian Legacy

Hume Studies 32 (2):277-329 (2006)
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Abstract

Hume follows Newton in replacing the mechanical philosophy’s demonstrative ideal of science by the Principia’s ideal of inductive proof ; in this respect, Hume differs sharply from Locke. Hume is also guided by Newton’s own criticisms of the mechanical philosophers’ hypotheses. The first stage of Hume’s skeptical argument concerning causation targets central tenets of the mechanical philosophers’ conception of causation, all of which rely on the a priori postulation of a hidden configuration of primary qualities. The skeptical argument concerning the causal inductive inference then raises doubts about what Hume himself regards as our very best inductive method. Hume’s own “Rules” further substantiate his reliance on Newton. Finally, Locke’s distinction between “Knowledge” and “Probability” does not leave room for Hume’s Newtonian notion of inductive proof

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Graciela De Pierris
Stanford University

Citations of this work

Newtonian and Non-Newtonian Elements in Hume.Matias Slavov - 2016 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (3):275-296.
Kant and Hume on causality.Graciela De Pierris & Michael Friedman - 2012 - In Peter Adamson (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Newton's Regulae Philosophandi.Zvi Biener - 2018 - In Chris Smeenk & Eric Schliesser (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Isaac Newton. Oxford University Press.
Universal Gravitation and the (Un)Intelligibility of Natural Philosophy.Matias Slavov - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):129-157.

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