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Conceivability and Modality in Hume: A Lemma in an Argument in Defense of Skeptical Realism

Conceivability and Modality in Hume: A Lemma in an Argument in Defense of Skeptical Realism Hume Studies , pp. 43-61 Introduction: A Realist View of Necessity and the Key Objection Those who seek to defend a skeptical realist reading of Hume on causal necessity have a number of textual and philosophical hurdles to clear. This paper attempts to clear one and only one hurdle. So one should not look here for a complete case in favor of a skeptical realist reading: I merely attempt to dispose of what looks like a decisive objection to a conception of objective necessary connection which, I believe, Hume endorses. The skeptical realist Hume, as I and others read him, is a Hume who wishes to deny that human beings have the cognitive wherewithal to perceive or grasp the necessary connection which relates the objects of genuine causal relations. His "skeptical conclusion" is that we cannot grasp in re necessity, nor that there is no necessity. That bald statement, of course, leaves us with a whole host of questions: why should we think that Hume believes that there really is causal necessity? Is this position compatible with his positive account of our idea of necessary connection, or his theory of belief (and of ideas in general)? What of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hume Studies Hume Society

Conceivability and Modality in Hume: A Lemma in an Argument in Defense of Skeptical Realism

Hume Studies , Volume 29 (1) – Jan 26, 2003

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Hume Society
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Copyright © Hume Society
ISSN
1947-9921
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Abstract

Hume Studies , pp. 43-61 Introduction: A Realist View of Necessity and the Key Objection Those who seek to defend a skeptical realist reading of Hume on causal necessity have a number of textual and philosophical hurdles to clear. This paper attempts to clear one and only one hurdle. So one should not look here for a complete case in favor of a skeptical realist reading: I merely attempt to dispose of what looks like a decisive objection to a conception of objective necessary connection which, I believe, Hume endorses. The skeptical realist Hume, as I and others read him, is a Hume who wishes to deny that human beings have the cognitive wherewithal to perceive or grasp the necessary connection which relates the objects of genuine causal relations. His "skeptical conclusion" is that we cannot grasp in re necessity, nor that there is no necessity. That bald statement, of course, leaves us with a whole host of questions: why should we think that Hume believes that there really is causal necessity? Is this position compatible with his positive account of our idea of necessary connection, or his theory of belief (and of ideas in general)? What of

Journal

Hume StudiesHume Society

Published: Jan 26, 2003

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