•  1725
    The Concept of Body in Hume’s Treatise
    ProtoSociology 206-220. 2013.
    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…Read more
  •  1365
    Hume appeals to different kinds of certainties and necessities in the Treatise. He contrasts the certainty that arises from intuition and demonstrative reasoning with the certainty that arises from causal reasoning. He denies that the causal maxim is absolutely or metaphysically necessary, but he nonetheless takes the causal maxim and ‘proofs’ to be necessary. The focus of this paper is the certainty and necessity involved in Hume’s concept of knowledge. I defend the view that intuitive certaint…Read more
  •  682
    Filling the Gaps in Hume’s Vacuums
    Hume Studies 38 (1): 79-99. 2012.
    The paper addresses two difficulties that arise in Treatise 1.2.5. First, Hume appears to be inconsistent when he denies that we have an idea of a vacuum or empty space yet allows for the idea of an “invisible and intangible distance.” My solution to this difficulty is to develop the overlooked possibility that Hume does not take the invisible and intangible distance to be a distance at all. Second, although Hume denies that we have an idea of a vacuum, some texts in Treatise 1.2.5 are taken by …Read more
  •  121
    Hume's Foundational Project in the Treatise
    European Journal of Philosophy 24 (1): 55-77. 2016.
    In the Introduction to the Treatise Hume very enthusiastically announces his project to provide a secure and solid foundation for the sciences by grounding them on his science of man. And Hume indicates in the Abstract that he carries out this project in the Treatise. But most interpreters do not believe that Hume's project comes to fruition. In this paper, I offer a general reading of what I call Hume's ‘foundational project’ in the Treatise, but I focus especially on Book 1. I argue that in Bo…Read more
  •  107
    Hume’s “projectivism” explained
    Synthese: Humeanisms. 2020.
    Hume appeals to a mysterious mental process to explain how to world appears to possess features that are not present in sense perceptions, namely causal, moral, and aesthetic properties. He famously writes that the mind spreads itself onto the external world, and that we stain or gild natural objects with our sentiments. Projectivism is founded on these texts but it assumes a reading of Hume’s language as merely metaphorical. This assumption, however, conflicts sharply with the important explana…Read more
  •  64
    What is the source of normativity in Hume’s account of causal reasoning? In virtue of what are causal beliefs justified for Hume? To answer these questions, the literature appeals, almost invariably, to custom or some feature thereof. I argue, in contrast, that causal beliefs are justified for Hume because they issue from experience. Although he denies experience the title of justifying reason, for Hume experience has normative authority. I offer an interpretation of the source and nature of the…Read more
  •  54
    Interpreters have found it exceedingly difficult to understand how Hume could be right in claiming that his two definitions of ‘cause’ are essentially the same. As J. A. Robinson points out, the definitions do not even seem to be extensionally equivalent. Don Garrett offers an influential solution to this interpretative problem, one that attributes to Hume the reliance on an ideal observer. I argue that the theoretical need for an ideal observer stems from an idealized concept of definition, whi…Read more
  •  28
    Causality and Hume’s foundational project
    In Angela Coventry & Alexander Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind, Routledge. 2018.
    The last few decades have witnessed intense debates in Hume scholarship concerning Hume’s account of causation. At the core of the “old–new Hume” debate is the question of whether causation for Hume is more than mere regularity, in particular, whether Hume countenances necessary connections in mind-independent nature. This chapter assesses this debate against the background of Hume’s “foundational project” in the Treatise. The question of the role and import of Hume’s account of the idea of caus…Read more
  •  26
    In his bold and excellent book on Hume's scientific methodology, David Landy positions himself between the "Deductive-Nomological" reading, which explains particular phenomena in terms of empirical regularities, and the "New Hume" position, which considers empirical regularities to be the explananda and unknowable essences the explanans. Landy sides with the New Humeans, except that for him the essences, or "theoretical posits," are knowable. These essences become knowable, despite their being i…Read more
  •  10
    Whence the Chemistry of Hume’s Mind? (review)
    Hume Studies 42 (1/2): 241-242. 2016.
    Reading Tamás Demeter's recent book, "David Hume and the Culture of Scottish Newtonianism," feels like visiting a curiosity shop. There are some general themes that are meant to harmonize the work, such as the emphasis on the conceptual and methodological unity of natural and moral philosophy. This merging of cultures of inquiry is nicely illustrated with the case study of anger in the period. There is the main thesis: that Hume's science of mind was influenced, not as much by Newton's Principia…Read more