Cognition and Commitment in Hume's Philosophy by Don Garrett

By Don Garrett

It's extensively believed that Hume usually wrote carelessly and contradicted himself, and that no unified, sound philosophy emerges from his writings. Don Garrett demonstrates that such criticisms of Hume are with no foundation. providing clean and trenchant options to longstanding difficulties in Hume reports, Garrett's penetrating research additionally makes transparent the continued relevance of Hume's philosophy.

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Extra resources for Cognition and Commitment in Hume's Philosophy

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So, although it is certainly true that we are interested in explanation and understanding, it is also reasonable to demand further details. It is these further details that will be my concern in this chapter. I start by explaining the main problem I want to discuss. I call it the logical problem of experience. Then I compare and contrast the logical problem with two others, which I call the empirical problem and the traditional mind-body problem. The crucial point will be that the three problems are different from each other and thus that our response to the logical problem may be developed in relative isolation from any response to the others.

The thesis of manifest supervenience provides one answer to this question. This thesis would take the now familiar form: (3) Manifest supervenience is true at w if and only if every manifest truth at w is entailed by some scientific truth at w. Again, manifest supervenience does not tell us that there are no manifest truths—that is, that the manifest world is an illusion. What it tells us is only that, if there are manifest truths, they supervene on scientific truths. Why is the thesis of manifest supervenience plausible?

If there are experiential truths, every experiential truth is entailed by some nonexperiential truth. If there are experiential truths, not every experiential truth is entailed by some nonexperiential truth. Logically speaking, these three are jointly contradictory: if any two of them are true, the third must be false. So one thing we know is that, barring some subtle ambiguity, at least one of T1–T3 is false. On the other hand, each of the theses has powerful considerations, or what seem initially to be powerful considerations, in its favor.

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