Professor Kemp Smith in providing a new edition of Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , embodying all the author’s additions and corrections, has given expression to the perennial interest and fascination which this work has possessed for many minds during the odd one hundred and fifty years since it was first published by Hume’s nephew. The editor himself has performed a great service by contributing an Introduction and a clear and concise summary of the Dialogues , in both of which (...) he expounds his own view as to how Hume’s discussion is to be interpreted. Hume employs three characters—Demea, Philo, and Cleanthes; and. (shrink)
According to tranditional philosophical terminology and to most interpretations of Cartesianism, Descartes is a dualist. This dualism is expressed in his fundamental distinction between two substances—mind and matter—and, though admitted to be full of difficulties and by many to be untenable, it has very generally been regarded as at least a clearly intelligible doctrine, consistently held by Descartes. That this is not so has been shown by Professor Boyce Gibson in his able and careful analysis of Cartesianism. The aim of (...) the present essay is to draw attention to another difficulty that has not been sufficiently noticed; whether it is an actual one or only an apparent one due to a misunderstanding of Descartes is a question that may be left to those who read him differently and who may be able to remove one more charge of inconsistency. The general contention is that Descartes—and this point is conceded in expositions of Descartes—seeks to prove that there are material bodies, that material bodies are necessary for his own account of the physical universe, and that yet his own theory of matter as extension, even combined with motion, makes the existence of bodies impossible and hence any proof of such existence impossible. In fact, the employment of the idea of motion only serves to emphasize the difficulty and inconsistency of the theory. (shrink)
THE question which I am to raise for discussion is one which has long been debated by philosophers, and consequently I consider it doubtful whether anything very new can be said on the matter. But it may be profitable to review once more the present position of the controversy and to have in mind the reasons which at present make the question of interest and of importance.
David Hume , a member of the well-known Border family of Home, was born on April 26, 1711. After a period of preparatory training he matriculated at Edinburgh College in 1723, although he may have entered earlier. His course during this period is obscure; according to his own statement the curriculum was mainly literary; on leaving College he records that his interests lay predominantly in this direction, and, being left to his own choice, he was able to indulge his inclinations. (...) An attempt to train him for a legal career ended in failure; and he continued to live at his ancestral home of Ninewells, to the west of Berwick, for some years, devoting himself. (shrink)
The title of this article might quite well be given the more hackneyed form, Has Kant answered Hume? Much of the discussion pertains to this latter question, but as the aim is also to emphasize some points concerned with Kant himself a deviation in title may be permissible.
No one who is interested in the problem of value and attempts to read through the literature on the subject can fail to be struck by the extraordinary diversity of opinion. Some of this difference of view is traceable to ambiguities in language; there are various terms employed, each of which, of course, may or may not express anyvalid idea—terms like value, values, kinds of value, sorts of things that have value, value-objects, things that have value. The terms value and (...) values are subject to and lead to much confusion, even on the part of those who are aware of the existence of such a danger. Much of the difference may probably be due to two other importantfactors: first, the education and training in earlier years whereby emotional reactions to words instead of intelligent understanding of their meaning and validity are induced, and, second, the continual reliance upon moral experience, which reliance may seem to be necessary, but which may be invalidated by the consideration, generally overlooked and unappraised, that moral, like social, experience might not be what it is if certain views were not entertainedand did not prevail. The latter possibility would put moral and social studies on a plane quite different from that of physical investigations, for the moral and social inquirer would always have to bear in mind that the facts with which he is confronted, and to which he seeks to appeal, may exist to confront him and his fellowmen only in the sense that they arise from the acceptance and effectuation of a belief or theory, and would not be but for the effectuation of the belief or theory. The other factor, that of the influence of education and training upon emotional reactions, is also important in relation to a study of value, for it is necessary to be on guard against confusing reactions to words and reactions to objects, things, or situations. (shrink)
The subject of the present paper is the central conception of a philosophy that has been particularly dominant and influential, and the following remarks are prompted because of difficulties experienced in the attempt to understand that philosophy. The aim of the paper is to point out what seems to be a serious defect in that type of philosophy; but it is even more its aim to emphasize the danger into which philosophy in all its forms may easily fall, and against (...) which it must exercise precautions. (shrink)
It is well known to readers of the Republic that, according to Plato's representation, a casual meeting of several friends develops into a sederunt for the express purpose of finding a solution to the question, what is justice? The question has its origin in the remark of the aged Cephalus, quoting Pindar, that whoever lives a life of justice and holiness, Sweet hope, the nourisher of age, his heart Delighting, with him lives; which most of all Governs the many veering (...) thoughts of man. (shrink)