•  301
    Is Hume a naturalist? Does he regard all or nearly all beliefs and actions as rationally unjustified? In order to settle these questions, it is necessary to examine their key terms and to understand the character-especially the normative character-of Hume's philosophical project. This paper argues that Hume is a naturalist-and, in particular, both a moral and an epistemic naturalist-in quite robust ways; and that Hume can properly regard many actions and beliefs as "rationally justified" in seve…Read more
  •  254
    Hume’s naturalistic theory of representation
    Synthese 152 (3): 301-319. 2006.
    Hume is a naturalist in many different respects and about many different topics; this paper argues that he is also a naturalist about intentionality and representation. It does so in the course of answering four questions about his theory of mental representation: (1) Which perceptions represent? (2) What can perceptions represent? (3) Why do perceptions represent at all? (4) Howdo perceptions represent what they do? It appears that, for Hume, all perceptions except passions can represent; and t…Read more
  •  159
    Spinoza's "ontological" argument
    Philosophical Review 88 (2): 198-223. 1979.
    I argue that spinoza's ontological argument is successful when it is understood to have two premises: (i) it is possible for god to exist, (ii) it is necessary that, if god exists, he necessarily does. the argument is valid in s5. spinoza is in a position to establish the second premise of the argument on the basis of his definitions and axioms. the first premise was assumed to be true, but, as leibniz noted, it must be established for the conclusion of the argument to be forthcoming. this is on…Read more
  •  146
    Cognition and Commitment in Hume’s Philosophy
    Oxford University Press. 1997.
    It is widely believed that Hume often wrote carelessly and contradicted himself, and that no unified, sound philosophy emerges from his writings. Don Garrett demonstrates that such criticisms of Hume are without basis. Offering fresh and trenchant solutions to longstanding problems in Hume studies, Garrett's penetrating analysis also makes clear the continuing relevance of Hume's philosophy.
  •  146
    P. J. E. Kail's Projection and Realism in Hume's Philosophy is an excellent book, consisting—like Hume's Treatise itself—of three excellent parts. I will comment on one central aspect of its second part: its explanation of the source of the second thoughts that Hume famously expressed, with a frustrating lack of specificity, about his own initial discussion of personal identity in the Treatise.As is well known, Hume holds in the section "Of personal identity" (T 1.4.6) that a self, mind, or pers…Read more
  •  139
    Hume's self-doubts about personal identity
    Philosophical Review 90 (3): 337-358. 1981.
    In this appendix to "a treatise of human nature", Hume expresses dissatisfaction with his own account of personal identity, Claiming that it is "inconsistent." in spite of much recent discussion of the appendix, There has been little agreement either about the reasons for hume's second thoughts or about the philosophical moral to be drawn from them. The present article argues, First, That none of the explanations for his misgivings which have been offered has succeeded in describing a problem wh…Read more
  •  121
    The First Motive to Justice: Hume's Circle Argument Squared
    Hume Studies 33 (2): 257-288. 2007.
    Hume argues that respect for property (“justice”) is a convention-dependent (“artificial”) virtue. He does so by appeal to a principle, derived from his virtue-based approach to ethics, which requires that, for any kind of virtuous action, there be a “first virtuous motive” that is other than a sense of moral duty. It has been objected, however, that in the case of justice (and also in a parallel argument concerning promise-keeping) Hume (i) does not, (ii) should not, and (iii) cannot recognize …Read more
  •  95
    Difficult times for Humean identity? (review)
    Philosophical Studies 146 (3). 2009.
  •  92
    What's True about Hume's 'True Religion'?
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 10 (2): 199-220. 2012.
    Despite his well-known criticisms of popular religion, Hume refers in seemingly complimentary terms to ‘true religion’; in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, his character Philo goes so far as to express ‘veneration for’ it. This paper addresses three questions. First, did Hume himself really approve of something that he called ‘true religion’? Second, what did he mean by calling it ‘true’? Third, what did he take it to be? By appeal to some of his key doctrines about causation and probabili…Read more
  •  87
    Feeling and Fabrication: Rachel Cohon’s Hume’s Morality
    Hume Studies 34 (2): 257-266. 2008.
    Hume's Morality: Feeling and Fabrication 1 is a most useful and agreeable book. It contains a wealth of analysis, argument, and insight about many of the most central elements of the moral theory of one of the greatest moral philosophers in human history: David Hume. The book is well-conceived, well-argued, stimulating, informative, clear, precise, thorough, balanced, nuanced, and ingenious, while evincing—especially in its concluding chapter, when considering possible extensions of Hume's theor…Read more
  •  56
    Précis of Cognition and Commitment in Hume’s Philosophy (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (1). 2001.
    Hume’s philosophical greatness is widely acknowledged, yet the interpretation of his philosophy is the subject of considerable disagreement and confusion. Cognition and Commitment in Hume’s Philosophy is intended to support critical discussion and evaluation of Hume’s philosophy by offering more accurate interpretations of his treatments of a number of central philosophical topics. The book has three main strategic goals: to isolate and explain Hume’s most fundamental philosophical aims, methods…Read more
  •  55
    Leibniz, God, and Necessity
    Philosophical Review 123 (2): 234-238. 2014.
    Book Review of Leibniz, God, and Necessity by Michael Griffin
  •  45
    Representation and the Mind-Body Problem in Spinoza (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1): 223-226. 2000.
    Michael Della Rocca’s marvelous book is devoted to Spinoza’s treatment of two topics—mental representation and the relation of mind to body—that are central to much of Spinoza’s philosophy. Della Rocca has clearly read Spinoza with extraordinary care, sensitivity, and insight. His writing is remarkably lucid, his argumentation is almost always compelling, and his care in spelling out exactly what he thinks does and does not follow—both from Spinoza’s philosophical arguments and from his own inte…Read more
  •  44
    Spinoza’s Metaphysics: Substance and Thought by Yitzhak Y. Melamed (review)
    Journal of Philosophy 111 (11): 641-647. 2014.
  •  40
    The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion (review)
    Philosophical Review 119 (1): 108-112. 2010.
    Although it is widely recognized that David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature belongs among the greatest works of philosophy, there is little agreement about the correct way to interpret his fundamental intentions. It is an established orthodoxy among almost all commentators that skepticism and naturalism are the two dominant themes in this work. The difficulty has been, however, that Hume's skeptical arguments and commitments appear to undermine and discredit his naturalistic ambition to contri…Read more
  •  38
    Causal empiricism and mental events
    Philosophical Studies 49 (3). 1986.
  •  38
    Replies (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (1). 2001.
    David Owen begins his contribution by setting out very clearly how my interpretation of Hume’s distinction between simple and complex perceptions helps to resolve some puzzles about apparent counterexamples to the two most fundamental principles of Hume’s cognitive psychology: the Copy Principle and the Separability Principle. His primary object of criticism is my interpretation of Hume’s famous conclusion that inductive inferences are “not determin’d by reason”. I am as grateful for Owen’s crit…Read more
  •  28
    Spinoza: The Enduring Questions (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 34 (3): 460-461. 1996.
    460 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 34:3 JULY 1996 Graeme Hunter, editor. Spinoza: The Enduring Questions. Toronto: University of To- ronto Press, 1994. Pp. xi + 182. Cloth, $70.00. This volume of eight essays is dedicated to the memory of the late David Savan, and originated from a conference held in his honor prior to his untimely death. The lead essay is by Savan himself, and most of the other essays acknowledge the influence of his work. The first three essays address not only an "endur…Read more
  •  26
    Priority and Separability in Hume’s Empiricism
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 67 (3): 270-288. 1985.
  •  25
    Owen on Humean Reason
    Hume Studies 26 (2): 291-303. 2000.
    This article is a critical discussion of David Owen's book, _Hume's Reason. Owen rightly emphasizes (i) that an understanding of Hume's theory of reasoning is essential to understanding his philosophy and (ii) that an understanding of early modern antiformalism in logic is crucial to understanding Hume's theory of reasoning. Against most commentators, Owen and I agree that Hume's famous conclusion about inductive inferences, i.e., that they are "not determin'd by reason"--is a causal rather a no…Read more
  •  23
    The literary arts in Hume's science of the fancy
    Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 44 (108): 161-179. 2003.
    Philosophers have long disagreed about whether poetry, drama, and other literary arts are important to philosophy and among those who believe that they are important, explanations of that importance have differed greatly. This paper aims to explain and illustrate some of the reasons why Hume found literature to be an important topic for philosophy and philosophers. Philosophy, he holds, can help to explain general and specific literary phenomena, to ground the science of criticism, and to sugges…Read more
  •  22
    Mind and Morality: An Examination of Hume’s Moral Psychology (review)
    Philosophical Review 110 (1): 132-134. 2001.
    In the introduction to his Mind and Morality: An Examination of Hume’s Moral Psychology, John Bricke traces the remarkable lack of agreement among commentators concerning the nature of Hume’s moral philosophy to two main failings: insufficient attention to “the foundations, in his philosophy of mind, on which Hume builds when constructing his theory of morality” and “the practice of taking his theory of morality as a patchwork of severally brilliant and provocative, but essentially unintegrated …Read more
  •  21