Volume 30, 2013
Concepts - Contemporary and Historical Perspectives
The Concept of Body in Hume’s Treatise
Hume’s views concerning the existence of body or external objects are notoriously difficult and intractable. The paper sheds light on the concept of body in Hume’s Treatise by defending three theses. First, that Hume’s fundamental tenet that the only objects that are present to the mind are perceptions must be understood as methodological, rather than metaphysical or epistemological. Second, that Hume considers legitimate the fundamental assumption of natural philosophy that through experience and empirical observation we know body. Third, that many of the contradictions and difficulties that interpreters attribute to Hume’s concept of body should be attributed instead, as Hume does, to every system of philosophy.