In Anne Jaap Jacobson (ed.), Feminist Interpretations of David Hume. Penn State UP (2000)

Aaron Smuts
Rhode Island College
In "Of Scepticism with Regard to the Senses" (Treatise I.IV.II) David Hume begins by saying that he will attempt to trace the causes of our belief in a mind-independent world, "a belief we must take for granted in all our reasonings". Yet the causes arrived at – namely natural inclination or imagination - are presented as so untrustworthy as to cast doubt on the credibility of the inescapable belief itself. However, in the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Hume presents a radically different evaluation of natural inclination, in which Nature is seen as a trustworthy, guiding Supreme Mother. I attempt to explain why Nature earns a disparaging evaluation within "Scepticism," and the significance of these metaphors to different versions of his argument.
Keywords hume  nature  metaphor  imagination  rhetoric
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