Hume and the Perception of Spatial Magnitude

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (3):355 - 373 (2004)
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Abstract

This paper investigates Hume's theory of the perception of spatial magnitude or size as developed in the _Treatise<D>, as well as its relation to his concepts of space and geometry. The central focus of the discussion is Hume's espousal of the 'composite' hypothesis, which holds that perceptions of spatial magnitude are composed of indivisible sensible points, such that the total magnitude of a visible figure is a derived by-product of its component parts. Overall, it will be argued that a straightforward reading of this hypothesis fails to do full justice to the complexity of Hume's theory of spatial perception and geometry, and that a more adequate treatment must also admit an important role for the more direct process of spatial magnitude perception which he dubs 'intuition'

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Edward Slowik
Winona State University

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References found in this work

Hume on Manners of Disposition and the Ideas of Space and Time.Lorne Falkenstein - 1997 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 79 (2):179-201.
Hume's Doctrine of Space.C. D. Broad - 1961 - Proceedings of the British Academy 47:161-76.
Is Mathematics for Hume Synthetic a Priori?Dorothy P. Coleman - 1979 - Southwestern Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):113-126.

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