Humes True Scepticism

Hardcover | September 11, 2015

byDonald C. Ainslie

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David Hume is famous as a sceptical philosopher but the nature of his scepticism is difficult to pin down. Hume's True Scepticism provides the first sustained interpretation of Part 4 of Book 1 of Hume's Treatise, his deepest engagement with sceptical arguments. Hume notes there that, whilereason shows that we ought not to believe the verdicts of reason or the senses, we do so nonetheless. Donald C. Ainslie argues that Hume uses our reactions to the sceptical arguments as evidence in favour of his model of the mind. If we were self-conscious subjects, superintending our rational andsensory beliefs, nothing should stop us from embracing the sceptical conclusions. But instead our minds are bundles of perceptions with our beliefs being generated, not by reflective assent, but by the imagination's association of ideas. We are not forced into the sceptical quagmire. Nonetheless, wecan reflect and philosophy uses this capacity to question whether we should believe our instinctive rational and sensory verdicts. It turns out that we cannot answer this question because the reflective investigation of the mind interferes with the associative processes involved in reason andsensation. We thus must accept our rational and sensory capacities without being able to vindicate or undermine them philosophically.Hume's True Scepticism addresses Hume's theory of representation; his criticisms of Locke, Descartes, and other predecessors; his account of the imagination; his understanding of perceptions and sensory belief; and his bundle theory of the mind and his later rejection of it.

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David Hume is famous as a sceptical philosopher but the nature of his scepticism is difficult to pin down. Hume's True Scepticism provides the first sustained interpretation of Part 4 of Book 1 of Hume's Treatise, his deepest engagement with sceptical arguments. Hume notes there that, whilereason shows that we ought not to believe the ...

Donald Ainslie is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, where he also serves as Principal of University College. He is interested in all aspects of Hume's philosophy, as well as in early modern philosophy more broadly; he is the co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Hume's Treatise. He also teaches and publishes in...

other books by Donald C. Ainslie

The Cambridge Companion to Hume's Treatise
The Cambridge Companion to Hume's Treatise

Kobo ebook|Jan 26 2015

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:September 11, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199593868

ISBN - 13:9780199593866

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Total Scepticism and the Challenge to Reason2. The Phenomenology of Sensory Experience3. Coherence, Constancy, and the Belief in Continuing Objects4. Philosophical Reflections on Sensory Experience5. Ancient Philosophy: Substances and Souls6. Modern Philosophy: Persons and Perceptions7. True Scepticism8. Second ThoughtsBibliography