Mind 118 (471):647-712 (2009)
AbstractThe ‘New Hume’ interpretation, which sees Hume as a realist about ‘thick’ Causal powers, has been largely motivated by his evident commitment to causal language and causal science. In this, however, it is fundamentally misguided, failing to recognise how Hume exploits his anti-realist conclusions about (upper-case) Causation precisely to support (lower-case) causal science. When critically examined, none of the standard New Humean arguments — familiar from the work of Wright, Craig, Strawson, Buckle, Kail, and others — retains any significant force against the plain evidence of Hume's; texts. But the most devastating objection comes from Hume's own applications of his analysis of causation, to the questions of ‘the immateriality of the soul’ and ‘liberty and necessity’. These show that the New Hume interpretation has misunderstood the entire purpose of his ‘Chief Argument’, and presented him as advocating some of the very positions he is arguing most strongly against
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