•  133
    We discuss the variety of sorts of sympathy Hume recognizes, the extent to which he thinks our sympathy with others’ feelings depends on inferences from the other’s expression, and from her perceived situation, and consider also whether he later changed his views about the nature and role of sympathy, in particular its role in morals
  •  64
    The problem of other minds has widely been considered as a special problem within the debate about scepticism. If one cannot be sure that there is a world existing independently of one's mind, how can we be sure that there are minds - minds which we cannot even experience the way we experience material objects? This book shows, through a detailed examination of David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature, that these concerns are unfounded. By focusing on Hume's discussion of sympathy - the ability …Read more
  •  61
    Mirroring Minds: Hume on Sympathy
    The European Legacy 18 (5): 540-551. 2013.
    Hume?s account of sympathy has often been taken to describe what the discovery of so-called mirror neurons has suggested, namely, that we are able to understand one another?s emotions and beliefs through experiences that require no mediating thoughts and exactly resemble the experiences of the observed person. I will oppose this interpretation by arguing that, on Hume?s standard account, sympathy is a mechanism that produces ideas and beliefs prior to the emergence of shared feelings. To stress …Read more
  •  50
    David Hume gibt mit seiner Theorie personaler Identität Rätsel auf. Rätselhaft ist sie vor allem deshalb, weil er sich selbst in einem Appendix der Inkonsistenz bezichtigt, jedoch weder einen konkreten Grund dafür angibt, noch eine angemessen Lösung anbietet. Im Folgenden wird dargelegt, daß Humes Theorie personaler Identität für sich betrachtet keinen Grund für derlei Selbstbezichtigungen liefert. Tatsächliche Schwierigkeiten ergeben sich hingegen unter Berücksichtigung von Humes Wahrnehmungsth…Read more
  •  48
    Hume's belief in other minds
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (1). 2009.
    In this essay I endeavour to discern a possible foundation for Hume's underlying assumption that human minds are similar to each other. The aim of this is to provide a new approach towards A Treatise of Human Nature that links Books II and III with Hume's epistemological discussion in Book I by providing a detailed analysis of the structural parallels and differences between sympathy and causal reasoning. Against this background, the belief in other minds will turn out to pertain to the class of…Read more
  •  42
    Locke on the Irrelevance of the Soul
    Philosophy 87 (3): 353-373. 2012.
    Commentators usually agree that Locke's discussion of thinking matter is intended to undermine the plausibility of the belief in the existence of the soul. In this paper I argue that, instead of trying to reveal the implausibility of this belief, Locke seeks to rid the concept of the soul of its traditional cognitive and moral functions in order to render references to the soul redundant in philosophical explanations of the nature of human beings and their place in the world. On this reading, th…Read more
  •  39
    Identity of Persons and Objects: Why Hume Considered Both as Two Sides of the Same Coin
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 8 (2): 147-167. 2010.
    By investigating one of the major inconsistencies that Hume's parallel treatment of the identity of persons and objects issues, this essay offers an unconventional account of what it needs to avoid a dualist picture of mind and world. It will be argued that much hinges on the question of whether or not one is willing to allow the principally unperceivable to enter into one's concept of reality. Hume, as will be shown, rejects this approach: he denies that we have reason to think that there are s…Read more
  •  34
    Early modern philosophers after Ren? Descartes are commonly distinguished as either rationalists or empiricists: rationalists are understood to agree with Descartes that reason is the source of knowledge, while empiricists are seen to emphasize the role of the senses within processes of knowledge acquisition. In recent years, this classic distinction has increasingly come under scrutiny. It is objected that, in its simplicity, the distinction tends to conceal the various cross-categorial influen…Read more
  •  33
    This monograph is an important book for anyone interested in the topic of consciousness and personal identity in early modern thought. It offers a rich overview of the vast array of writers reflecting on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century conceptions of persons, their responsibilities, the issue of immortality, and the development of an account of consciousness based on the way in which minds relate to their own thoughts and feelings. It traces the lines of influence from the scholastic backgro…Read more
  •  32
    Activating the Mind: Descartes' Dreams and the Awakening of the Human Animal Machine
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2): 299-325. 2017.
    In this essay I argue that one of the things that matters most to Descartes' account of mind is that we use our minds actively. This is because for him only an active mind is able to re-organize its passionate experiences in such a way that a genuinely human, self-governed life of virtue and true contentment becomes possible. To bring out this connection, I will read the Meditations against the backdrop of Descartes' correspondence with Elisabeth. This will reveal that in Descartes' writings the…Read more
  •  28
    Philosophen der Frühen Neuzeit werden gemeinhin als Ideen-Theoretiker verstanden, wobei Ideen als eine Barriere zwischen dem denkenden Subjekt und der Welt begriffen werden. In dem vorliegenden Artikel geht es mir darum, eine kritische Überprüfung des überholten Begriffsschemas anhand einer Auseinandersetzung mit Humes Theorie der Assoziation anzuregen. Es wird gezeigt, dass Ideen in der Interaktion zwischen dem Subjekt und seiner sozialen und natürlichen Umwelt entstehen. So ist es nicht die in…Read more
  •  28
    The Artifice of Human Nature: Rousseau and Herder
    Intellectual History Review 25 (3): 343-356. 2015.
    In this essay I will argue that although Rousseau often invokes the concept of nature as a fixed point of reference in the evaluation of personal traits, and individual and collective practices, a closer look at the dynamics of the educational programme laid out in his Emile shows that for him human nature has to emerge in a process that combines the influence of nature and artifice. This process is essentially enabled by Emile's sensibility that, as I will claim, can be conceived as a natural p…Read more
  •  26
    Sympathy and the Mechanics of Character Change
    Hume Studies 38 (2): 221-242. 2012.
    Hume holds that sympathy is both crucial for making moral judgments and a distorting influence that prevents us from assessing the virtue of characters impartially. He writes, When any quality, or character, has a tendency to the good of mankind, we are pleas’d with it, and approve of it; because it presents the lively idea of pleasure; which idea affects us by sympathy, and is itself a kind of pleasure. But as this sympathy is very variable, it may be thought, that our sentiments of morals must…Read more
  •  25
    Herder: Philosophy and Anthropology (edited book)
    with DeSouza Nigel
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
    Thirteen scholars offer new essays exploring the question at the heart of J. G. Herder's thought: How can philosophy enable an understanding of the human being not simply as an intellectual and moral agent, but also as a creature of nature who is fundamentally marked by an affective openness and responsiveness to the world and other persons?
  •  24
    Normativity has long been conceived as more properly pertaining to the domain of thought than to the domain of nature. This conception goes back to Kant and still figures prominently in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of mind and ethics. By offering a collection of new essays by leading scholars in early modern philosophy and specialists in contemporary philosophy, this volume goes beyond the point where nature and normativity came apart, and challenges the well-established opposition betw…Read more
  •  21
    Thomas Reid's theory of perception – Ryan Nichols (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240): 643-645. 2010.
    No Abstract
  •  21
    Kant introduces empiricism as a deficient position that is unsuitable for the generation of scientific knowledge. The reason for this is that, according to him, empiricism fails to connect with the world by remaining trapped within the realm of appearances. If we follow Galen’s account of the debate ensuing among Hellenistic doctors in the third century B.C., empiricism presents itself in an entirely different light. It emerges as a position that criticises medical practitioners who stray away f…Read more
  •  18
    The language of sympathy: Hume on communication
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 28 (2): 296-317. 2020.
    By placing Hume’s account of communication in the context of some less known seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French resources on rhetoric and language, this essay argues that Hume based his und...
  •  17
    Justice Through a Multispecies Lens
    with Danielle Celermajer, Sria Chatterjee, Alasdair Cochrane, Stefanie Fishel, Astrida Neimanis, Anne O’Brien, Susan Reid, Krithika Srinivasan, and David Schlosberg
    Contemporary Political Theory 19 (3): 475-512. 2020.
  •  10
    Descartes, Malebranche, and the Crisis of Perception, by OttWalter. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. 272.
  •  10
    _Sensibility in the Early Modern Era_ investigates how the early modern characterisation of sensibility as a natural property of the body could give way to complex considerations about the importance of affect in morality. What underlies this understanding of sensibility is the attempt to fuse Lockean sensationism with Scottish sentimentalism – being able to have experiences of objects in the world is here seen as being grounded in the same principle that also enables us to feel moral sentiments…Read more
  •  9
    Natural History and the Formation of the Human Being: Kant on Active Forces
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 58 67-76. 2016.
    In his 1785-review of the Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, Kant objects to Herder's conception of nature as being imbued with active forces. This attack is usually evaluated against the background of Kant's critical project and his epistemological concern to caution against the “metaphysical excess” of attributing immanent properties to matter. In this paper I explore a slightly different reading by investigating Kant's pre-critical account of creation and generation. The aim…Read more
  •  8
    Mechanism and Thought Formation: Hume’s Emancipatory Scepticism
    In Stephen Buckle & Craig Taylor (eds.), Hume and the Enlightenment, Pickering & Chatto Publishing. pp. 171-186. 2011.
  •  4
    n his 1785 review of Herder’s Ideen zur Geschichte der Menschheit Kant stresses the negative effects of sensibility and imagination in undermining philosophy. This essay will offer a defence of Herder against Kant in order to gesture towards a more positive account of the cognitive function of these capacities. I will argue that the eighteenth-century fascination with the experimental sciences and the demand to engage in anti-speculative philosophy in fact called for the integration of sensibili…Read more
  •  3
    Introduction
    In Nigel DeSouza & Anik Waldow (eds.), Herder: Philosophy and Anthropology, Oxford University Press. pp. 1-9. 2017.
    Herder brings the entire human being into focus by tracing its connections with the natural, cultural, and historical world. The first part of the volume examines the various dimensions of Herder’s philosophical understanding of human nature through which he sought methodologically to delineate a genuinely anthropological philosophy. This includes his critique of traditional metaphysics and its revision along anthropological lines; the metaphysical, epistemological, and physiological dimensions …Read more
  •  3
    This essay argues that Herder’s conception of history as a form of natural growth is grounded in his claim that humans are a part of nature and develop historically situated forms of reason in communication with the features of their natural and social environments. By stressing this developmental aspect of human reason, Herder not only helps us to correct an overly universalistic conception of reason that ignores the importance of situational contexts in the shaping of cognitive structures; he …Read more
  •  3
    Nature and Norms in Thought
    In Anik Waldow & Martin Lenz (eds.), Contemporary Perspectives on Early Modern Philosophy, Springer. pp. 1-12. 2013.
    The present volume joins contributions to early modern debates on nature and norms in thought with decidedly contemporary perspectives, thereby hoping to shed new light on developments in early modern philosophy as well as enrich current discussions on the relation between nature and norms. Clearly, the relation between mind and world poses perennial problems and debates. How do we explain that thoughts and other mental states have content? What makes it the case that some thought is about this …Read more