What is Hume's Dictum, and why believe it?

Authors
Jessica Wilson
University of Toronto, St. George
Abstract
Hume's Dictum (HD) says, roughly and typically, that there are no metaphysically necessary connections between distinct, intrinsically typed, entities. HD plays an influential role in metaphysical debate, both in constructing theories and in assessing them. One should ask of such an influential thesis: why believe it? Proponents do not accept Hume's arguments for his dictum, nor do they provide their own; however, some have suggested either that HD is analytic or that it is synthetic a priori (that is: motivated by intuitions we have no good reason to question). Here I explore whether belief in HD is directly justified on either grounds. I motivate and present more formal characterizations of HD; I show that there are good prima facie cases to be made for HD's being analytic and for its being synthetic a priori; I argue that each of the prima facie cases fails, some things considered. I close by offering two suggestions for how belief in HD might be indirectly justified on argumentative grounds.
Keywords Hume  Hume's Dictum  necessary connections  Laws of nature  combinatorialism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI ppr201080321
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,484
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Parts of Classes.David Lewis - 1991 - Blackwell.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume - 1738 - Oxford University Press.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7 (3):429-440.

View all 41 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
The Distinctive Feeling Theory of Pleasure.Ben Bramble - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):201-217.
Fundamentality Without Foundations.Michael J. Raven - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):607-626.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Hume, the New Hume, and Causal Connections.Ken Levy - 2000 - Hume Studies 26 (1):41-75.
Humean Humility.Aisling Crean - 2010 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy (Special Issue edited by Helen Beebee and Markus Schrenk) 13.
A New Interpretation of Hume's 'Of Miracles'.Chris Slupik - 1995 - Religious Studies 31 (4):517 - 536.
Hume's Dictum and the Asymmetry of Counterfactual Dependence.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press. pp. 258-279.
Hume = Small Hume.Jeffrey Ketland - 2002 - Analysis 62 (1):92–93.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
699 ( #2,742 of 2,267,117 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #14,356 of 2,267,117 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature