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Hume Studies

Volume 37, Issue 1, April 2011

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articles
1. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Mark Collier Hume’s Science of Emotions: Feeling Theory without Tears
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We must rethink the status of Hume’s science of emotions. Contemporary philosophers typically dismiss Hume’s account on the grounds that he mistakenly identifies emotions with feelings. But the traditional objections to Hume’s feeling theory are not as strong as commonly thought. Hume makes several important contributions, moreover, to our understanding of the operations of the emotions. His claims about the causal antecedents of the indirect passions receive support from studies in appraisal theory, for example, and his suggestions concerning the social dimensions of self-conscious emotions can help guide future research in this field. His dual-component hypothesis concerning the processing of emotions, furthermore, suggests a compromise solution to a recalcitrant debate in cognitive science. Finally, Hume’s proposals concerning the motivational influences of pride, and the conventional nature of emotional display rules, are vindicated by recent work in social psychology.
2. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Jonas Olson Projectivism and Error in Hume’s Ethics
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This essay argues that while Hume believes both that morality is grounded in our ordinary moral practices, sentiments, and beliefs, and that moral properties are real, he also holds that ordinary moral thinking involves systematically erroneous beliefs about moral properties. These claims, on their face, seem difficult to square with one another but this paper argues that on Hume’s view, they are reconcilable. The reconciliation is effected by making a distinction between Hume’s descriptive metaethics, that is, his account of vulgar moral thought and discourse, and his revisionary metaethics, that is, his account of how vulgar moral thought and discourse could be reformed so as to no longer involve error. This essay concludes that Hume is a projectivist and an error theorist in descriptive metaethics, while he is a projectivist and a subjectivist in revisionary metaethics.
3. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Carl Wennerlind The Role of Political Economy in Hume’s Moral Philosophy
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Hume insisted that property serve as the foundation of society because it best promotes the greatest amount of industry and therefore contributes to public utility. Industry thus plays a central role in Hume’s theory of justice. Given that Hume extensively discussed the social, political, cultural, and moral implications of industry in the Political Discourses, I suggest that Hume’s economic writings should be understood as an integral part of his overall philosophical project. In offering a parallel reading of the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals and the Political Discourses, I argue that Hume’s theory of justice does not resolve into a mere theory of property, as many philosophers complain, but rather, emerges as a rich account of how justice both generates the greatest material affluence and promotes the formation of the most virtuous society.
4. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Karánn Durland Extreme Skepticism and Commitment in the Treatise
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The extreme skepticism that Hume’s dangerous dilemma introduces at the end of the first Book of the Treatise is deeply unsettling, in part because it seems to undermine Hume’s commitments to common life and philosophy, but also because Hume seems not to take its sweeping doubts seriously. He refuses to abandon his daily activities and philosophical pursuits, and he offers no clear account of what entitles him to sustain them. This paper explores a variety of tactics for addressing these opposing elements of his thought. The most radical approach has Hume endorse nothing whatsoever in the Treatise, a maneuver that prevents any conflict between his doubts and his commitments from arising, though at a tremendous cost. A more charitable strategy allows Hume to speak with one consistent voice throughout the text by rejecting, repurposing, or restricting either his doubts or his commitments in a way that resolves the tension between them. Yet a third approach takes Hume to advance incompatible and irreconcilable positions but holds that the inconsistency in his thinking is not as destructive as it initially appears. None of the most promising ways of developing these proposals eliminates or satisfactorily eases the conflict in Hume’s work, and the enormous obstacles that they face give us little reason to hope for something better.
5. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
Jennifer Smalligan Marušić Belief and Introspective Knowledge in Treatise 1.3.7
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Hume argues that the difference between belief and mere conception consists in a difference in the manner of conception. His argument assumes that the difference between belief and mere conception must be a function of either the content conceived or of the manner of conception; however, it is unclear what justifies this assumption. I argue that the assumption depends on Hume’s confidence that we can know immediately that we believe when we believe, and that we can only have such knowledge of intrinsic features of our perceptions. I then claim that Hume’s argument against the view that the difference between belief and mere conception is a function of the content conceived faces a difficulty, because it relies on an apparently implausible view about mental representation. I propose an interpretation of the argument that avoids the difficulty and explains Hume’s puzzling claim that his account of belief answers “a new question unthought of by philosophers.”
book review
6. Hume Studies: Volume > 37 > Issue: 1
John Robertson Carl Wennerlind and Margaret Schabas, eds. David Hume’s Political Economy
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