Humes argument for skepticism

Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 74 1. Professor McLaughlin asks whether these hypotheses are coherent and thus whether they can tell us anything about what are entitled to believe, or to claim to know.

Humes argument for skepticism

One is a question of moral epistemology: Ethical theorists and theologians of the day held, variously, that moral good and evil are discovered: Hume sides with the moral sense theorists: Hume maintains against the rationalists that, although reason is needed to discover the facts of any concrete situation and the general social impact of a trait of character or a practice over time, reason alone is insufficient to yield a judgment that something is virtuous or vicious.

Moral rationalists of the period such as Clarke and in some moods, Hobbes and Locke argue that moral standards or principles are requirements of reason — that is, that the very rationality of right actions is the ground of our obligation to perform them.

The moral sense theorists Shaftesbury and Hutcheson and Butler see all requirements to pursue goodness and avoid evil as consequent upon Humes argument for skepticism nature, which is so structured that a particular feature of our consciousness whether moral sense or conscience evaluates the rest.

Hume sides with the moral sense theorists on this question: Closely connected with the issue of the foundations of moral norms is the question whether moral requirements are natural or conventional. Hobbes and Mandeville see them as conventional, and Humes argument for skepticism, Hutcheson, Locke, and others see them as natural.

If there were nothing in our experience and no sentiments in our minds to produce the concept of virtue, Hume says, no lavish praise of heroes could generate it.

So to a degree moral requirements have a natural origin. Thus he takes an intermediate position: While even so law-oriented a thinker as Hobbes has a good deal to say about virtue, the ethical writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries predominantly favor a rule- or law-governed understanding of morals, giving priority to laws of nature or principles of duty.

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The chief exception here is the moral sense school, which advocates an analysis of the moral life more like that of the Greek and Hellenistic thinkers, in terms of settled traits of character — although they too find a place for principles in their ethics.

Yet he insists on a role for rules of duty within the domain of what he calls the artificial virtues. Hume roundly criticizes Hobbes for his insistence on psychological egoism or something close to it, and for his dismal, violent picture of a state of nature.

Yet Hume resists the view of Hutcheson that all moral principles can be reduced to our benevolence, in part because he doubts that benevolence can sufficiently overcome our perfectly normal acquisitiveness. While for Hume the condition of humankind in the absence of organized society is not a war of all against all, neither is it the law-governed and highly cooperative domain imagined by Locke.

It is a hypothetical condition in which we would care for our friends and cooperate with them, but in which self-interest and preference for friends over strangers would make any wider cooperation impossible.

In the realm of politics, Hume again takes up an intermediate position.

"Hume's skepticism" by Dennis Farrell Thompson

He objects both to the doctrine that a subject must passively obey his government no matter how tyrannical it is and to the Lockean thesis that citizens have a natural right to revolution whenever their rulers violate their contractual commitments to the people.

He famously criticizes the notion that all political duties arise from an implicit contract that binds later generations who were not party to the original explicit agreement. On his view, human beings can create a society without government, ordered by conventional rules of ownership, transfer of property by consent, and promise-keeping.

We superimpose government on such a pre-civil society when it grows large and prosperous; only then do we need to use political power to enforce these rules of justice in order to preserve social cooperation.

So the duty of allegiance to government, far from depending on the duty to fulfill promises, provides needed assurance that promises of all sorts will be kept.

The duty to submit to our rulers comes into being because reliable submission is necessary to preserve order. Particular governments are legitimate because of their usefulness in preserving society, not because those who wield power were chosen by God or received promises of obedience from the people.

Hume, David | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

In a long-established civil society, whatever ruler or type of government happens to be in place and successfully maintaining order and justice is legitimate, and is owed allegiance.

However, there is some legitimate recourse for victims of tyranny: The indirect passions, primarily pride, humility shamelove and hatred, are generated in a more complex way, but still one involving either the thought or experience of pain or pleasure. Intentional actions are caused by the direct passions including the instincts.

Of the indirect passions Hume says that pride, humility, love and hatred do not directly cause action; it is not clear whether he thinks this true of all the indirect passions. Hume is traditionally regarded as a compatibilist about freedom and determinism, because in his discussion in the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding he argues that if we understand the doctrines of liberty and necessity properly, all mankind consistently believe both that human actions are the products of causal necessity and that they are free.

The two treatments, however, surprisingly enough, are entirely consistent.

Humes argument for skepticism

Hume construes causal necessity to mean the same as causal connection or rather, intelligible causal connectionas he himself analyzes this notion in his own theory of causation:1. Issues from Hume’s Predecessors.

Hume inherits from his predecessors several controversies about ethics and political philosophy. One is a question of moral epistemology: how do human beings become aware of, or acquire knowledge or belief about, moral good and evil, right and wrong, duty and obligation?

HUME'S ARGUMENT FROM EMPIRICISM TO SKEPTICISM. As an empiricist, Hume starts with an epistemological foundation which is essentially the same as Berkeley's, but he carries out the empiricist program without Berkeley's rationalist retention of what amounts to the innate concept (or "notion" as Berkeley called it)) of "mind" or "spirit."Thus we can say Hume's empiricism is a "pure.

The Philosophical Works of David Hume (), ed. T.H. Green and T.H. Grose. This four-volume set was the definitive edition of the late nineteenth century, and is the text source of many individually published books on Hume.

Eryn Croft Professor Chudnoff PHI Honors October 9, Hume’s argument for skepticism about induction states that we can use induction, like causation, to gain knowledge. We must rely on induction to draw conclusions in everyday life because it is the only resource we have to work with.

The argument is in essence that an empirical position, that Hume holds, cannot be justified by empirical means. So humean scepticism is the result of claiming empiricism as .

Humes argument for skepticism

Against the common belief of the time that God’s existence could be proven through a design or causal argument, Hume offered compelling criticisms of standard theistic proofs. Instead, he recommends a more moderate or Academic skepticism that tones down Pyrrhonism by, first, exercising caution and Jessop, Thomas Edmund.

A bibliography.

David Hume - Wikipedia