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1. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1

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2. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
John P. Wright

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3. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth S. Radcliffe, Mark G. Spencer

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4. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Hsueh Qu

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In this paper, I examine the epistemological positions of Philo and Cleanthes in the Dialogues. I find that Philo’s attitude towards skepticism mirrors that of the first Enquiry, most notably in its endorsement of mitigated skepticism, and its treatment of religious reasoning as distinctly discontinuous with science and philosophy. Meanwhile, Cleanthes’s epistemological framework corresponds to that of the Treatise, most notably in its adoption of something like the Title Principle, and its treatment of some forms of religious reasoning as broadly continuous with science and philosophy. It is not merely that the epistemological systems of the Treatise and Enquiry are echoed in Cleanthes’s and Philo’s positions respectively; these frameworks seem to clarify, provide a substantive basis for, and render more complete their somewhat piecemeal statements on this topic in the Dialogues. Thus, Philo’s and Cleanthes’s dispute is not limited to the theological, but extends to the epistemological.
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5. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Daryl Ooi

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Since its relatively recent publication (1995), Hume’s Fragment on Evil has re­ceived little sustained analysis. References to the Fragment tend to be scarce, and at best, only parts of the Fragment are cited at any time. This essay presents an interpretation of the Fragment that considers the text in its entirety, emphasizing its overall argumentative features and structure. This essay begins by providing an introduction to the background of the Fragment, arguing that Hume was likely responding, in part, to Butler’s Analogy. It then examines the aims and methodology of the Fragment. In this, it considers Hume’s naturalistic and experimental epistemology, and his mitigated skepticism. The Fragment is presented as a discussion about our ability to know the moral attributes of God. The rest of the essay discusses the three strategies Hume employs to answer this question. Further, it considers Hume’s own distinction between a philosophical response to the question (its foundation in reason) and a psychological one (its origin in human nature). Throughout the essay, I provide an evaluation of Hume’s key arguments and point out several connections the Fragment has with other texts in Hume’s corpus. I conclude by suggesting that these connections indicate that the Fragment represent Hume’s own views.
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6. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Graham Clay

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Commentators have rightly focused on the reasons why Hume maintains that the conclusions of skeptical arguments cannot be believed, as well as on the role these arguments play in Hume’s justification of his account of the mind. Nevertheless, Hume’s interpreters should take more seriously the question of whether Hume holds that these arguments are demonstrations. Only if the arguments are demonstrations do they have the requisite status to prove Hume’s point—and justify his confidence—about the nature of the mind’s belief-generating faculties. In this paper, I treat Hume’s argument against the primary/secondary quality distinction as my case study, and I argue that it is intended by Hume to be a demonstration of a special variety.
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7. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
James Chamberlain

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I argue for a thorough reinterpretation of Hume’s “common point of view” thesis, at least within his moral Enquiry. Hume is typically understood to argue that we correct for sympathetically produced variations in our moral sentiments, by undertaking an imaginative exercise. I argue that Hume cannot consistently claim this, because he argues that we automatically experience the same degree of the same moral sentiment towards all tokens of any one type of character trait. I then argue that, in his Enquiry at least, Hume only believes that we correct for variations in our non-moral sentiments. When he claims that we sometimes choose a “common point of view,” he just means that we sometimes choose to verbally express our calm, moral sentiments, and no other passions, when we publicly evaluate people’s characters.
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8. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Sebastian Bender

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Hume is an avowed critic of contractarianism. He opposes the idea that a le­gitimate government is based on an “original contract” or on the consent of those who are governed. Most scholars assume, though, that his criticisms apply only to a limited range of contractarian theories, namely to theories according to which actual contractors reach an actual agreement. Theories on which the agreement in question is understood in hypothetical or counterfactual terms, however, are oftentimes seen as being compatible with Hume’s views. Against such interpretations, this paper shows that Hume rejects all contractarian theories, including hypothetical ones. It argues, first, that Hume employs a so far unacknowledged empiricist debunking strategy against contractarianism; if successful, this strategy undermines all variants of contractarianism. Second, it shows that the Humean conception of the state of nature (a topic that has received virtually no scholarly attention) is incompatible with hypothetical contractarianism. Finally, it argues that Hume rejects contractarianism in part because he anticipates a line of criticism which nowadays is often leveled against so-called ideal theory. On Hume’s view, the agreements reached by highly idealized contractors are of little relevance to the non-ideal individuals in the actual world.
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9. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Enrico Galvagni

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In this paper, I reconstruct Hume’s account of decency, the virtue associated with a limited display of pride, and show how it presents a significant challenge to standard virtue ethical interpretations of Hume. In section I, I explore his ambivalent conception of pride as both virtuous (because useful and agreeable to oneself) and vi­cious (when excessive and disagreeable to others). In section II, I show how the virtue of decency provides a practical solution to these two clashing aspects of pride. In doing so, I demonstrate that decency is a merely behavioural virtue that requires no virtuous motive and consists of nothing more than “a fair outside.” I argue that this account of decency represents a serious and underexplored challenge to standard interpretations of Hume as a virtue ethicist committed to the idea that actions derive their moral value from underlying motives. In section III, I reply to some objections.
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book reviews
10. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Marc Hanvelt

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11. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Erik W. Matson

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12. Hume Studies: Volume > 47 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth Radcliffe, Mark Spencer

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13. Hume Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1/2
Michael Jacovides

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The common view that Hume is a regularity theorist about laws of nature isn’t textually well grounded. The texts show that he thinks of them as objective governing principles that could conceivably be violated while still counting as a law of nature. This is a standard view at the time, and Hume borrows it from others. He implies that the best evidence for rational religion is the exceptionless workings of the laws of nature, he argues that suicide isn’t incompatible with the will of God by identifying his will with the laws of nature, and he has Philo argue for the existence of God from the simplicity of the laws governing the world. He sheds some of the theological baggage that laws of nature carry at the time, but not all of it.
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14. Hume Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1/2
Hynek Janoušek

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The following text suggests interpreting Hume’s theory of sympathy in Book 2 of the Treatise of Human Nature in a broader context of relations, feelings, and senti­ments. It is this context which marks off different types of impressions and their different phenomenology, and offers rich insights into Hume’s theory. As regards Hume’s theory of sympathy, it can be analyzed for various cases of sympathy both in the context of the (1) conception involved in a given case of sympathy, and in the context of its (2) doxastic and (3) affect-constituting vivacity. The article first describes three kinds of associative relations (causal relations, relations of modes and substances, and projection of spatial contiguity) involved in the conception of passions in sympathy, and shows how these relations might help to differentiate impressions of our feelings from those of other people. Yet another distinction between impressions produced by sympathy is possible with respect to the context of belief or doxastic vivacity involved in the conception of the feelings of others. The text tries to illustrate this by showing how the neutralization of disbelief and relations of space and time differentiate impressions of sympathy with fictive heroes of tragic plays, from sympathy with real people in everyday life. Finally, the article discusses a broader context of the affect-constituting vivacity. Even though Hume’s view of the origin of this vivacity remains unclear, it can be shown that the affect-constituting vivacity grounds our proper experience with others as affective others, and differentiates our conception of persons from our conception of inanimate objects. Moreover, different kinds of associative relations involved in the transfer of the affect-constituting liveliness differentiate felt emotions of people which are close to us from felt emotions of people related to us merely on account of our self-interest.
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15. Hume Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1/2
Jason Fisette

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On a standard reading of David Hume, we know two things about his analogy of morals to secondary qualities: first, it responds to the moral rationalism of Clarke and Wollaston; second, it broadcasts Hume’s realism or antirealism in ethics. I complicate that common narrative with a new intellectual contextualization of the analogy, the surpris­ing outcome of which is that Hume’s analogy is neither realist nor antirealist in spirit, but quietist. My argument has three parts. First, I reconstruct Hume’s argument against rationalist moral ontology in Treatise 3.1.1, revealing his attention to the Intellectual­ism/Voluntarism debate in rationalism. Second, I present evidence of Hume’s familiarity with the debate between Intellectualist moral realists and Voluntarist moral antirealists, notably Pufendorf. Third, I establish that Hume’s analogy undermines a key assumption structuring that debate, and that the analogy consequently signals his quietist abstention from his rationalist contemporaries’ realism/antirealism debate in ethics.
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16. Hume Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1/2
Ian Cruise

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Hume’s account of the scope of justice, many think, is implausibly narrow, apply­ing almost exclusively to respect for property rights. Such a view would indeed be highly objectionable because it would leave out of the scope of justice altogether requirements to keep our promises, obey the law, and refrain from threats and violence (among many others). I argue that Hume’s theory of justice, properly understood, avoids this objection. And seeing how is instructive because once we understand his account correctly, we can appreciate its resources for offering attractive explanations of why a number of diverse phenomena fall within the scope of justice. Overcoming this challenge is a major step- ping stone on the way to seeing Hume’s theory of justice as a genuine competitor with the other dominant theories of justice in the philosophical literature.
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17. Hume Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1/2
Aaron Alexander Zubia

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While scholars have begun to illuminate the contribution of modern Epicure­anism to developments in political theory during the Enlightenment, scholars remain divided as to whether David Hume should be interpreted as an appropriator of modern Epicurean thought. In this essay, I contend that Hume’s political theory contributes not only to the development of the Epicurean idiom, but also to the evolution of contractarian thought, with which Epicureanism is linked. Though Hume is undoubtedly innovative, particularly in regard to his treatment of consent, he does not operate in an entirely new idiom of political theory, one that is “without precedent” (Sagar, Opinion of Mankind). Instead, Hume adopts and refines the Epicurean conventionalism that propelled the modern liberal project of turning politics into a science. This interpretation of Hume clarifies what modern Epicurean political theory is, while also showing that the alleged distance between Hume and Lockean liberalism is narrower than often supposed.
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18. Hume Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1/2
Todd Ryan

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In Part XI of the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, Philo enumerates “four circumstances” which he claims are the principal sources of pain and suffering in human life. In this paper, I focus on Philo’s second circumstance in which he develops a critique of what I call the ‘general laws theodicy.’ This theodicy, according to which natural evils arise as a result of God’s government of the universe by simple and general laws of nature, is most closely associated with Nicolas Malebranche. However, I argue that Philo’s criticisms badly misfire against Malebranche’s version of the theodicy. I then show how the general laws theodicy was radically reinterpreted by a succession of British philosophers—among them Berkeley, Hutcheson and Butler—and that it is against this reconceived version of the theodicy that Philo’s objections are aimed.
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book review
19. Hume Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1/2
Louise Daoust

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20. Hume Studies: Volume > 46 > Issue: 1/2
Charles Goldhaber

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