Humeanisms: metaphysical and epistemological

Synthese 199 (1-2):905-925 (2020)

Abstract

Classic inductive skepticism–the epistemological claim that we have no good reason to believe that the unobserved resembles the observed–is plausibly everyone’s lot, whether or not they embrace Hume’s metaphysical claim that distinct existents are “entirely loose and separate”. But contemporary advocates of a Humean metaphysic accept a metaphysical claim stronger than Hume’s own. I argue that their view plausibly gives rise to a radical inductive skepticism–according to which we are downright irrational in believing as we do about the unobserved–that we don’t otherwise have reason to accept. The Metaphysical Neo-Humean is in an epistemological quagmire all her own.

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Aaron Segal
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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