The contents of Hume's appendix and the source of his despair

Hume Studies 32 (2):195-231 (2006)
Jonathan Ellis
University of California, Santa Cruz
This paper has two goals: first, to show that the footnote and structure of App. 20, to which too little careful attention has been given, ultimately undermine a great many interpretations of Hume’s dissatisfaction with his theory of personal identity; and second, to offer an interpretation that both heeds these textual features and (unlike other interpretations consistent with these features) renders Hume worried about something that would have truly bothered him. Hume’s problem, I contend, concerns the relation, in his genetic explanation of ideas such as that of the self, between (i) the objects of the perceptions along which there is a smooth and uninterrupted progress of thought, and (ii) the contents of the ideas that the mind in such cases sometimes subsequently invents.
Keywords Hume
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DOI hume20063221
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