Philosophica: International Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 30, Issue 1/2, July//December 2022

Brent Delaney
Pages 155-173

Do Humean Relations Exist?

Since the publication of Hume’s Treatise, scholars have been divided on how to interpret the ontology of Humean relations. In particular, is Hume’s theory of relations consistent with positivism, (skeptical) realism, or anti-realism? In this essay, I propose a novel distinction separating impressions and ideas from relations such that relations are construed as forming a distinct category equal to impressions and ideas. In so doing, I interpret Hume as fundamentally agnostic toward the ontology of relations.