Episteme 7 (1):42-57 (2010)

Saul Traiger
Occidental College
The standard interpretation of Hume on testimony takes him to be a reductionist; justification of beliefs from testimony ultimately depends on one's own first-person experience. Yet Hume's main discussions of testimony in the Treatise and first Enquiry suggest a social account. Hume appeals to shared experience and develops norms of belief from testimony that are not reductionist. It is argued that the reductionist interpretation rests on an overly narrow view of Hume's theory of ideas. By attending to such mechanisms of the imagination as abstraction and fictions, it is shown that Hume's theory of ideas does not forestall a non-reductionist social epistemology
Keywords Hume
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DOI 10.3366/e174236000900080x
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Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind.Wilfrid S. Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
Testimony: A Philosophical Study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.David Hume - 1955 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 112.

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