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Hume on Space and Geometry

Hume on Space and Geometry Hume's discussion of our ideas of space, time and mathematics in Book One of the Treatise is referred to by one recent commentator as 'the least admired part' of this work, while another finds it to be 'one of the least satis2 factory Parts'. Hume himself, it would appear, was not far from endorsing such opinions. The omission of any detailed comment on these subjects from the first Enquiry can be taken as indicating his dissatisfaction with the earlier exposition as well as a felt incompetence to offer a suitable revision. For there was certainly no loss of interest on Hume's part in the philosophical problems of mathematics. In a letter to William Strahan in 1772 he speaks of an essay prepared for publication around 1755 entitled: On the Metaphysical Principles of Geometry , which he withdrew upon the advice of his friend the mathematician Lord Stanhope, who convinced me that either there was some defeat in the argument or in its perspicuity; I forget which. . . Defects of both kinds are present in the Treatise discussion of geometry and the infinite divisibility of space, which taken together with certain remarks in the Abstract of the Treatise http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hume Studies Hume Society

Hume on Space and Geometry

Hume Studies , Volume 7 (1) – Jan 26, 1981

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Publisher
Hume Society
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Copyright © Hume Society
ISSN
1947-9921
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Abstract

Hume's discussion of our ideas of space, time and mathematics in Book One of the Treatise is referred to by one recent commentator as 'the least admired part' of this work, while another finds it to be 'one of the least satis2 factory Parts'. Hume himself, it would appear, was not far from endorsing such opinions. The omission of any detailed comment on these subjects from the first Enquiry can be taken as indicating his dissatisfaction with the earlier exposition as well as a felt incompetence to offer a suitable revision. For there was certainly no loss of interest on Hume's part in the philosophical problems of mathematics. In a letter to William Strahan in 1772 he speaks of an essay prepared for publication around 1755 entitled: On the Metaphysical Principles of Geometry , which he withdrew upon the advice of his friend the mathematician Lord Stanhope, who convinced me that either there was some defeat in the argument or in its perspicuity; I forget which. . . Defects of both kinds are present in the Treatise discussion of geometry and the infinite divisibility of space, which taken together with certain remarks in the Abstract of the Treatise

Journal

Hume StudiesHume Society

Published: Jan 26, 1981

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