The Evident Connexion: Hume on Personal Identity

Paperback | May 24, 2013

byGalen Strawson

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The Evident Connexion presents a new reading of Hume's "bundle theory" of the self or mind, and his later rejection of it. Galen Strawson argues that the bundle theory does not claim that there are no subjects of experience, as many have supposed, or that the mind is just a series ofexperiences. Hume holds only that the "essence of the mind [is] unknown". His claim is simply that we have no empirically respectable reason to believe in the existence of a persisting subject, or a mind that is more than a series of experiences (each with its own subject).Why does Hume later reject the bundle theory? Many think he became dissatisfied with his account of how we come to believe in a persisting self, but Strawson suggests that the problem is more serious. The keystone of Hume's philosophy is that our experiences are governed by a "uniting principle" or"bond of union". But a philosophy that takes a bundle of ontologically distinct experiences to be the only legitimate conception of the mind cannot make explanatory use of those notions in the way Hume does. As Hume says in the Appendix to the Treatise of Human Nature: having "loosen'd all ourparticular perceptions" in the bundle theory, he is unable to "explain the principle of connexion, which binds them together". This lucid book is the first to be wholly dedicated to Hume's theory of personal identity, and presents a bold new interpretation which bears directly on current debatesamong scholars of Hume's philosophy.

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The Evident Connexion presents a new reading of Hume's "bundle theory" of the self or mind, and his later rejection of it. Galen Strawson argues that the bundle theory does not claim that there are no subjects of experience, as many have supposed, or that the mind is just a series ofexperiences. Hume holds only that the "essence of the...

Galen Strawson is Professor of Philosophy at Reading University. Prior to that he was Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Jesus College, Oxford (1987-2000). From 2004 to 2007 he was also Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at CUNY Graduate Center in New York. He has held visiting positions at the Research School of Social Sciences at ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:178 pages, 8.5 × 5.51 × 0.68 inPublished:May 24, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199680604

ISBN - 13:9780199680603

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgements1. Epistemology, semantics, and ontology2. Mind, Self, and Person3. Hume's AppendixIndexBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"full as it is of provocative suggestions and ingenious and subtle arguments, it is one to learn from and to relish. It is a book no serious student of Hume can afford to ignore." --John Biro, Mind 11/12/2012