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articles
1. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Lisa Ievers Hume’s Conception of Proper Reflection
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The concept of reflection plays an equivocal role in the Treatise. It is identified as both the key to the formation of more accurate beliefs and the means to the destruction of belief altogether. I attempt to resolve this apparent paradox by showing that there are two distinct kinds of reflection in Book 1: legitimate, or “proper,” reflection and illegitimate reflection. Despite evidence to the contrary—including Hume’s own claim that he cannot establish that excessive reflections (one variant of illegitimate reflection) should not affect our beliefs—I argue that Hume can justifiably draw a distinction between proper and illegitimate reflection based on epistemological grounds available to him that he does not recognize.
2. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Deborah Boyle The Ways of the Wise: Hume’s Rules of Causal Reasoning
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In their responses to Hume’s account of causal reasoning, Hume’s own contemporaries and many subsequent readers have tended to focus on the skeptical implications of that account. More recent scholarship has emphasized that Hume’s account of causal inference is not purely skeptical, for Hume often suggests that forming a belief through causal inference based on repeated experience is the right way to form beliefs. One less-noticed feature of Hume’s account of causal inference, however, is that Hume links good causal inference with virtue; thinkers who adopt certain methods of causal reasoning and eschew other methods possess the epistemic virtue that he characterizes as “wisdom” or “good sense.” This paper argues that Hume’s account of causal reasoning and his normative claims about belief can fruitfully be interpreted by focusing on what Hume says about such doxastic wisdom: why he thinks it is better to be wise than unwise; what he means when he characterizes certain methods of belief-formation as wise; how the cognitive habits employed by the wise differ from those of the unwise; and how he thinks someone can who lacks the epistemic virtue of wisdom can come to acquire it. Since much of the secondary literature on Humean virtue has focused on the “moral” rather than “intellectual” virtues (EPM App 4.2; SBN 313), attention to Humean doxastic wisdom also helps to provide a more complete picture of his account of virtue.
3. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Elisa Galgut Hume’s Aesthetic Standard
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In his famous essay “Of the Standard of Taste,” Hume seeks to reconcile two conflicting intuitions—the intuition that there is a great variety of taste, on the one hand, and the intuition that there is an artistic standard based on taste that has stood the test of time, on the other—by appealing to the joint verdict of his “true judges” or “ideal critics.” But Hume’s critics have themselves been the objects of criticism as not providing an adequate basis on which to establish a normative aesthetic standard based on taste. In this paper, I defend an interpretation of Hume’s ideal critics as akin to judges in certain common law traditions, and I argue that Hume does satisfactorily resolve conflicting intuitions about the nature of taste.
4. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Éléonore Le Jallé Hume, Malebranche, and the Self-Justification of the Passions
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In Book 2 of the Treatise, Hume echoes Malebranche’s Search after Truth in noticing that all our passions tend to justify themselves. I reveal this borrowing and examine how this phenomenon of the self-justification of the passions fits into Malebranche’s and Hume’s different approaches to the passions and their links to judgment and truth. I maintain that whereas Malebranche aims to warn against the errors that passions involve when justifying themselves, Hume only considers the self-justification of the passions as an example of the dynamic nature of the mind, other examples of which are displayed elsewhere in the Treatise. I also show that Hume’s understanding of the self-justification principle illustrates another important theme of Books 1 and 2, namely, the reciprocal influences of the imagination and the passions.
5. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Anik Waldow Sympathy and the Mechanics of Character Change
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Sympathy’s susceptibility to interpersonal relations is problematic for Hume because even though sympathy is crucial for making moral judgments, it biases our character judgments in favor of those closest to us. This essay will argue that despite his emphasis on these negative effects and his insistence on the need to correct sympathy in order to attain universal moral judgments, Hume also offers resources for thinking that uncorrected, relation-susceptible sympathy plays a powerful role in the formation of character and in the refinement of one’s character ideals. This positive role emerges from Hume’s claim that close relations to other persons maximize the pains we feel in response to their disapproval, suggesting that our interactions with these persons strongly motivate us to become critical of morally questionable traits and sufficiently determined to abandon them. Focusing on this function of sympathy enables us to understand the importance of situatedness and attachments for our moral development and reveals how spontaneous affections can usefully feed into our more reflective moral insights.
book review
6. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Max Grober Essays on David Hume, Medical Men and the Scottish Enlightenment : ‘Industry, Knowledge and Humanity.’ By Roger L. Emerson
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7. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
A Note about “The Hume Literature”
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8. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Index to Volume 38
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9. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Hume Studies Referees, 2011–2012
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articles
10. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Herman De Dijn Spinoza and Hume on Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
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Spinoza and Hume are two naturalist philosophers who were among the first modern thinkers to study religion as a natural phenomenon. There undoubtedly are similarities in their accounts of the origin of religion in imagination and passion (emotion). But those who see Hume as a crypto-Spinozist are nevertheless confronted with serious differences between the two philosophers with respect to their understanding of religion and its various forms. These differences concern fundamental issues like the meaning and acceptability of the notion of God and its function in different spheres, the possibility of a kind of philosophical religiosity, and the possible advantage of religion, at least in some of its forms, to individual and social life. The militant “Spinozism” of Hume belongs to a world perhaps (in part) made possible by Spinoza, but nevertheless alien to him.
11. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
David Landy Hume’s Theory of Mental Representation
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Hume’s arguments in the Treatise require him to employ not only the copy principle, which explains the intrinsic properties of perceptions, but also a thesis that explains the representational content of a perception. I propose that Hume holds the semantic copy principle, which states that a perception represents that of which it is a copy. Hume employs this thesis in a number of his most important arguments, and his doing so enables him to answer an important objection concerning the status of the copy principle. I further argue that the semantic copy principle is necessary, a priori, and discovered through an analysis of our general idea of representational content.
12. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Jani Hakkarainen A Third Type of Distinction in the Treatise
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In this paper, I resolve a potential contradiction between two of Hume’s central tenets: that complex perceptions consist of simple perceptions and that distinct things are separable. The former implies that a complex perception is not separable from its constituent simple perceptions, as a change in its constituents destroys its identity. The latter entails that the complex perception is separable from these simple perceptions, since it is distinct from them. This is a contradiction. I resolve it by appealing to a third kind of distinction in addition to the two kinds Hume mentions: real distinctions and distinctions of reason. This third distinction is a partial distinction. I argue that just as the separability principle does not apply to distinctions of reason, neither does it apply to perceptions that are only partially distinct from other perceptions. Hence, the apparent contradiction is resolved.
13. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Miren Boehm Filling the Gaps in Hume’s Vacuums
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The paper addresses two difficulties that arise in Treatise 1.2.5. First, Hume appears to be inconsistent when he denies that we have an idea of a vacuum or empty space yet allows for the idea of an “invisible and intangible distance.” My solution to this difficulty is to develop the overlooked possibility that Hume does not take the invisible and intangible distance to be a distance at all. Second, although Hume denies that we have an idea of a vacuum, some texts in Treatise 1.2.5 are taken by interpreters to suggest that Hume nonetheless believes that there are vacuums in nature. I discuss the relevant texts and defend the view that Hume does not in fact countenance belief in vacuums. I conclude by outlining an interpretation of Hume’s intention in the Treatise that allows us to understand his discussion of ideas as having implications for the sciences.
notes and texts
14. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Lorne Falkenstein Hume’s Seneca Reference in Dialogues 12: An Assessment of Alternatives
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In section 12 of the Dialogues, Hume claimed, without reference, that Seneca had written that to know God is to worship him. His source has proven hard to find. This note identifies some possibilities and argues in favour of one of them—one that has not been recognized by recent editors of the Dialogues.
15. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Todd Ryan Hume’s “Malezieu Argument”
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At T 1.2.2.3 Hume offers an argument against the infinite divisibility of finite extension, which he ascribes to “Mons. Malezieu.” Scholars have long been aware that the ultimate source of the argument is the Élémens de Géométrie de Monseigneur le Duc de Bourgogne, first published in 1705. Although the argument has figured prominently in several recent discussions of Hume’s metaphysics, there exists as yet no adequate English translation of Malezieu’s text. Furthermore, very little is known about Hume’s immediate sources for the argument. In this article, I provide the original French text with translation. I then inquire into Hume’s knowledge of the text. Drawing on evidence internal to the Treatise passage itself, I consider two plausible sources: a contemporary review of Malezieu’s work in the Nouvelles de la République des Lettres and a critical discussion of the argument in Le Gendre’s Traité de l’opinion (1735). Based on the available evidence, I suggest that the latter was most likely Hume’s source.
book reviews
16. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Beth Innocenti The Politics of Eloquence: David Hume’s Polite Rhetoric. By Marc Hanvelt
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17. Hume Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Emily Kelahan David Hume and the Problem of Other Minds. By Anik Waldow
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