Hume’s Absolute Necessity

Mind 123 (490):377-413 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Hume regards the ‘absolute’ necessity attending demonstrable propositions as an expression of the limitations of human imagination. When we register our modal commitments in ordinary descriptive language, affirming that there are such-and-such absolute necessities, possibilities, and impossibilities, we are projecting our sense of what the human mind can and cannot conceive. In some ways the account parallels Hume’s famous treatment of the necessity of causes, and in some respects it anticipates recent expressivist theories of absolute modality. I marshal the evidence for this interpretation, show how it can explain a number of otherwise puzzling features of Hume’s modal epistemology and metaphysics, and situate this account of our modal discourse in Hume’s wider programme for a science of human nature.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,509

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

Knowledge of Possibility and of Necessity.Bob Hale - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):1–20.
Manifesting Belief in Absolute Necessity.John Divers & Daniel Y. Elstein - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (1):109-130.
Proof and Demonstration: Hume’s Account of the Causal Relation.Andrew Ward - 2008 - International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (1):23-37.
Causal Necessity and Logical Necessity.David H. Sanford - 1978 - Philosophical Studies 33 (2):185 - 194.
Motives, Causal Necessity, and Moral Accountability.Mendel F. Cohen - 1964 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 42 (3):322 – 334.
Evidential Support, Reliability, and Hume's Problem of Induction.Chris Tucker - 2009 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (4):503-519.
Hume's Natural History of Justice.Mark Collier - 2011 - In C. Taylor & S. Buckle (eds.), Hume and the Enlightenment. Pickering & Chatto. pp. 131-142.

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-05-23

Downloads
106 (#115,577)

6 months
5 (#144,082)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Thomas Holden
University of California at Santa Barbara

Citations of this work

Hume's Fork, and His Theory of Relations.Peter Millican - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):3-65.
Predication and Hume's Conceivability Principle.Hsueh Qu - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Is Conceivability a Guide to Possibility?Stephen Yablo - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (1):1-42.
Is Conceivability a Guide to Possibility?Stephen Yablo - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (1):1-42.

View all 40 references / Add more references