58,953 research outputs found

    Hume on Thick and Thin Causation

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    Hume is known for his claim that our idea of causation is nothing beyond constant conjunction, and that our idea of necessary connection is nothing beyond a felt determination of the mind. In short, Hume endorses a thin conception of causation and necessary connection. In recent years, however, a sizeable number of philosophers have come to view Hume as someone who believes in the existence of thick causal connections - that is, causal connections that allow one to infer a priori the effect from the cause, and vice versa. Hume doesn\u27t wish to deny such connections, said philosopher\u27s claim, he only seeks to demonstrate that we can\u27t know anything about the nature of the thick causal connections that make up the natural world. In this dissertation, I defend the old or traditional interpretation of Hume on causation. I draw attention to the important but neglected role of clear and distinct perception in Hume\u27s thought, arguing that for Hume our impressions are clear and distinct perceptions, whereas our ideas are faint and obscure. Accordingly, Hume\u27s copy principle - the thesis that our ideas are copies of our impressions - is Hume\u27s way of rendering our naturally obscure and confused ideas distinct. One need only discern the impression from which said ideas are copied. In this way, I show that Hume\u27s opinion concerning our idea of thick causation is that it\u27s an obscure and confused idea, and that the only clear and distinct idea we can have of causation is thin causation. Furthermore, since meaning for Hume is a matter of a word\u27s being associated with an idea, Hume thinks that an expression such as thick causation is meaningless or confused. In one sense, then, Hume is a positivist, and as such doesn\u27t believe in thick causal connections

    The history of the mainstream rejection of interdependent preferences

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    The notion of interdependent preferences has a long history in economic thought. It can be found in the works of authors such as Hume, Rae, Genovesi, Smith, Marx and Mill among others. In the 20th century, the idea became more widespread mainly through the works of Veblen and Duesenberry. Recently, an increasing number of theorists are interested in issues like reference income, relative consumption and positional goods which are all based on the concept of interdependent preferences. However, such preferences were never part of the corpus of orthodox theory. For instance, although Pareto and Marshall were aware of their existence, they rejected their incorporation into economic theory. There were various reasons for this rejection. The structure of mainstream economic methodology might be one reason. Another reason had to do with the theoretical implications of adopting interdependent preferences. The paper discusses the main historical aspects of this idea in relation to the mainstream resistance to incorporate it in orthodox economic theory

    The mystification of Hume\u27s compatibilism (David Hume).

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    The traditional reading of Hume is that he is a regularity theorist about causation and a compatibilist on the issue of human freedom and moral responsibility. I argue that these readings are mutually exclusive---i.e. endorsement of the one entails the rejection of the other---as they diverge on a fundamental premise, namely, the truth of causal determinism. Relatively recent New Hume scholarship has claimed that he is a causal realist---i.e. that he believes in the objective (mind-independent) existence of necessary connections or causal powers. I argue against this new reading and offer analysis in support of one type of the traditional regularity strain. The main claim I wish to establish is that the misguided compatibilist attribution derives from the illegitimate bifurcation of Hume\u27s necessity and liberty arguments on the part of commentators on both sides of the dispute, a bifurcation which distorts and invariably undermines Hume\u27s \u27reconciling project\u27. In other words, Hume\u27s redefinition of the terms of the free will debate rules out the standard compatibilist reading, as Hume is not presupposing, or even concerned with, the truth (or falsity) of determinism; rather, he is concerned with the psychology of our subjective experience (and/or idea) of necessity, i.e. with how and why necessity (and/or the idea of necessity) proves essential to human experience or to human nature. Specifically, I argue that Hume\u27s treatment of necessity may be best understood as pointing to pragmatic considerations: his ultimate concerns are the ways in which our experience(s) of necessity serve(s) us in the way of prediction, predictability, and/or the ability to predict natural events, including human actions and choices. This line of thought is especially clear in Section 7 \u27Of Liberty and Necessity\u27 of An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, while the psycho-subjective aspect constitutes the focus of Hume\u27s discussion of necessary connections in the Treatise. What is clear from a survey of each of these texts is that Hume\u27s treatment of necessity is not to be confused with a compatibilist\u27s causal determinist account of the same

    A Study of the Development and Significance of the Idea of the 'Image of God' from its Origins in Genesis through its Historical-Philosophical Interpretations to Contemporary Concerns in Science and Phenomenology

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    This thesis investigates the development and significance of the idea of the human being as made in the 'image of God', from its origin in the book of Genesis through its historical and philosophical unfolding. There are, however, many interpretations of what this means, giving rise to problems regarding what precisely is being conveyed by this idea, The issue of the existence of God became particularly problematic after Hume and Feuerbach's scepticism and, in more recent times, in light of criticisms stemming from Darwin's theory of evolution and by some neo-Darwinists who claim to prove in particular that God does not exist. This study argues that the natural-scientific theory of evolution does not, in fact, prove the non-existence of God. It also argues that the phenomenological method of enquiry is a more appropriate method for addressing the question of what it is to be a human individual made in the 'image of God'. Because the idea of the 'image of God' rests on an assent to belief in God's existence for it to have meaning, in conclusion an argument for this assent is presented in light of Edith Stein's phenomenology. Yet, even if existence in God is not assented to, the idea of the 'image of God'can still be thought valuable in that this idea can be held to have been a precursor in the history of thinking for ideas such as human dignity and human rights

    Le principe de Pascal-Hume et la métaphysique

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    Le raisonnement par lequel Hume établit l'ori- gine empirique de Vidée de cause repose implicitement sur un principe de possibilité a priori et même de probabilité a priori, dont Hume n'a pas remarqué le caractère rationnel, tant il paraissait naturel. Ce principe est identique à celui sur lequel Pascal fonde le calcul des probabilités. Si l'on admet sa légitimité, il en résulte deux conséquences capita- les pour la théorie de la connaissance : 1 - La raison ne se limite pas aux seuls principes logiques en oeuvre dans la déduction mais doit reconnaître que ce qui est également pensable est également probable a priori. 2 - Ce principe de probabilité fournit une preuve de l'existence d'une réalité extérieure à la conscience, que l'on cherchait en vain dans le principe de causalité.The reasoning by which Hume established the empirical origin of the idea of cause rests on a principle of a priori possibility and even a priori probability of which Hume did not notice the rational character, so natural did it seem. This principle is identical to the one on which Pascal founded the calculation of probabilities. If its legitimy is admitted, two important consequences follow for the theory of knowledge : 1 - Reason is not limited only to the logical principles at word in deduction but must recognize that, a priori, what is equally thinkable it equally probable. 2 - This principle of probability provides a proof of the existence of a reality outside the consciousness that one looked for in vain in the principle of causality

    The relation between the general maxim of causality and the principle of uniformity in hume's theory of knowledge

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    ABSTRACT When Hume, in the Treatise on Human Nature, began his examination of the relation of cause and effect, in particular, of the idea of necessary connection which is its essential constituent, he identified two preliminary questions that should guide his research: (1) For what reason we pronounce it necessary that every thing whose existence has a beginning should also have a cause and (2) Why we conclude that such particular causes must necessarily have such particular effects? (1.3.2, 14-15) Hume observes that our belief in these principles can result neither from an intuitive grasp of their truth nor from a reasoning that could establish them by demonstrative means. In particular, with respect to the first, Hume examines and rejects some arguments with which Locke, Hobbes and Clarke tried to demonstrate it, and suggests, by exclusion, that the belief that we place on it can only come from experience. Somewhat surprisingly, however, Hume does not proceed to show how that derivation of experience could be made, but proposes instead to move directly to an examination of the second principle, saying that, perhaps, be found in the end, that the same answer will serve for both questions (1.3.3, 9). Hume's answer to the second question is well known, but the first question is never answered in the rest of the Treatise, and it is even doubtful that it could be, which would explain why Hume has simply chosen to remove any mention of it when he recompiled his theses on causation in the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. Given this situation, an interesting question that naturally arises is to investigate the relations of logical or conceptual implication between these two principles. Hume seems to have thought that an answer to (2) would also be sufficient to provide an answer to (1). Henry Allison, in his turn, argued (in Custom and Reason in Hume, p. 94-97) that the two questions are logically independent. My proposal here is to try to show that there is indeed a logical dependency between them, but the implication is, rather, from (1) to (2). If accepted, this result may be particularly interesting for an interpretation of the scope of the so-called Kant's reply to Hume in the Second Analogy of Experience, which is structured as a proof of the a priori character of (1), but whose implications for (2) remain controversial.859

    Locke, Hume, and Reid on the Objects of Belief

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    The goal of this paper is show how an initially appealing objection to David Hume's account of judgment can only be put forward by philosophers who accept an account of judgment that has its own sizable share of problems. To demonstrate this, I situate the views of John Locke, David Hume, and Thomas Reid with respect to each other, so as to illustrate how the appealing objection is linked to unappealing features of Locke's account of judgment

    Hume’s Academic Scepticism: A Reappraisal of His Philosophy of Human Understanding

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    A philosopher once wrote the following words:If I examine the PTOLOMAIC and COPERNICAN systems, I endeavour only, by my enquiries, to know the real situation of the planets; that is, in other words, I endeavour to give them, in my conception, the same relations, that they bear towards each other in the heavens. To this operation of the mind, therefore, there seems to be always a real, though often an unknown standard, in the nature of things; nor is truth or falsehood variable by the various apprehensions of mankind. Though all human race should for ever conclude, that the sun moves, and the earth remains at rest, the sun stirs not an inch from his place for all these reasonings; and such conclusions are eternally false and erroneous

    The Vulgar Conception of Objects in “Of Skepticism with Regard to the Senses”

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    In this paper, we see that contrary to most readings of T 1.4.2 in the Treatise, Hume does not think that objects are sense impressions. This means that Hume’s position on objects is not to be conflated with the vulgar perspective. Moreover, the vulgar perspective undergoes a marked transition in T 1.4.2, evolving from what we may call vulgar perspective I into vulgar perspective II. This paper presents the first detailed analysis of this evolution, which includes an explanation of T 1.4.2’s four-part system

    Hume on Substance: A Critique of Locke

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    The ancient theory of substance and accident is supposed to make sense of complex unities in a way that respects both their unity and their complexity. On Hume’s view such complex unities are only fictitiously unities. This result follows from his thoroughgoing critique of the theory of substance. I will characterize the theory Hume is critiquing as it is presented in Locke, presupposing what Bennett calls the “Leibnizian interpretation.” Locke uses the word ‘substance’ in two senses. Call substance in the first sense “individual substance” and in the second sense “pure substance.” I will discuss the seven main parts of Hume’s view: (I) that we have no idea of pure substance, (II) that there is no complex individual substance, except in a loose sense, (III) that the fiction of complex individual substance arises in a way parallel to that of the fiction of identity through time, and (IV) results in the fiction of pure substance, (V) that simple qualities and perceptions satisfy the definition of individual substance, (VI) that there is no such thing as inherence, and (VII) that there is no such thing as pure substance. Hume’s views on substance are often mentioned without being discussed in detail. Kemp Smith, Stroud, and Garrett, for example, mostly summarize various claims of Hume in the course of expounding on his theory of the idea of personal identity. In contrast, I will attempt to present a systematic treatment of Hume on substance as a refutation of Locke
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