Custom and Reason in Hume: A Kantian Reading of the First Book of the Treatise

Paperback | September 26, 2010

byHenry E. Allison

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Henry Allison examines the central tenets of Hume's epistemology and cognitive psychology, as contained in the Treatise of Human Nature. Allison takes a distinctive two-level approach. On the one hand, he considers Hume's thought in its own terms and historical context. So considered, Hume isviewed as a naturalist, whose project in the first three parts of the first book of the Treatise is to provide an account of the operation of the understanding in which reason is subordinated to custom and other non-rational propensities. Scepticism arises in the fourth part as a form ofmetascepticism, directed not against first-order beliefs, but against philosophical attempts to ground these beliefs in the "space of reasons." On the other hand, Allison provides a critique of these tenets from a Kantian perspective. This involves a comparison of the two thinkers on a range ofissues, including space and time, causation, existence, induction, and the self. In each case, the issue is seen to turn on a contrast between their underlying models of cognition. Hume is committed to a version of the perceptual model, according to which the paradigm of knowledge is a seeing withthe "mind's eye" of the relation between mental contents. By contrast, Kant appeals to a discursive model in which the fundamental cognitive act is judgment, understood as the application of concepts to sensory data, Whereas regarded from the first point of view, Hume's account is deemed a majorphilosophical achievement, seen from the second it suffers from a failure to develop an adequate account of concepts and judgment.

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Henry Allison examines the central tenets of Hume's epistemology and cognitive psychology, as contained in the Treatise of Human Nature. Allison takes a distinctive two-level approach. On the one hand, he considers Hume's thought in its own terms and historical context. So considered, Hume isviewed as a naturalist, whose project in the...

Henry E. Allison is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of California, Davis.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pagesPublished:September 26, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199592020

ISBN - 13:9780199592029

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Hume`s Elements2. Hume`s Doctrine of Space and Time3. Hume`s Epistemological Divide in the Treatise4. "Whatever begins to be must have a cause of existence": Hume`s Analysis and Kant`s Response5. Hume`s Analysis of Inductive Inference5: Appendix. Does Reason Beg or Command? Kant and Hume on Induction and the Uniformity of Nature6. Simple Conception, Existence, and Belief: Hume`s Analysis and the Kantian Response7. Causation, Necessary Connection, and Power8. Hume on Scepticism Regarding Reason9. Hume on Scepticism Regarding the Senses10. Hume`s Natural History of Philosophy and Hume and Kant as Philosophical Therapists11. Hume`s Paralogisms12. Hume`s Philosophical InsoucianceBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "On the great majority of the most fundamental points, Allison's reading of Hume seems to me precisely right. And whether or not one agrees with its details, Allison's discussion of Hume is philosophically deep and thought-provoking throughout. This is a bookevery philosopher interested in the relationship between these two philosophers should read, and read carefully." --Karl Schafer, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews