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Probability in Hume's Science of Man

Probability in Hume's Science of Man 137. PROBABILITY IN HUME'S SCIENCE OF MAN This paper is an attempt to make sense of a fragment of Hume's positive philosophy, namely his theory of how we apportion belief on the basis of ambiguous evidence. The topic is one that has received little critical attention from philosophers. One reason for this neglect is the be- lief that Hume's discussion of probable reasoning is not addressed to philosophical questions, but rather is concerned merely to give a psychological theory of why we tend to make the inferences we do. Another is the view that Hume's psychology of probability is too obscure to merit serious study. I hope to show, however, that Hume's discussion of probable reasoning contains more philosophy, and more interesting psychology, than the prevalence of these attitudes would suggest. The main philosophical content that I see in Hume's account of probable reasoning is that it embodies a certain theory of belief, worked out in some detail. Here the After central notion is the "belief-feeling" , vivacity. an initial discussion of Hume's use of this notion, I hazard the opinion that vivacities are related to probabilities by a simple subtraction formula (§1). The investigation of Hume's account http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hume Studies Hume Society

Probability in Hume's Science of Man

Hume Studies , Volume 7 (2) – Jan 26, 1981

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Hume Society
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Copyright © Hume Society
ISSN
1947-9921
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Abstract

137. PROBABILITY IN HUME'S SCIENCE OF MAN This paper is an attempt to make sense of a fragment of Hume's positive philosophy, namely his theory of how we apportion belief on the basis of ambiguous evidence. The topic is one that has received little critical attention from philosophers. One reason for this neglect is the be- lief that Hume's discussion of probable reasoning is not addressed to philosophical questions, but rather is concerned merely to give a psychological theory of why we tend to make the inferences we do. Another is the view that Hume's psychology of probability is too obscure to merit serious study. I hope to show, however, that Hume's discussion of probable reasoning contains more philosophy, and more interesting psychology, than the prevalence of these attitudes would suggest. The main philosophical content that I see in Hume's account of probable reasoning is that it embodies a certain theory of belief, worked out in some detail. Here the After central notion is the "belief-feeling" , vivacity. an initial discussion of Hume's use of this notion, I hazard the opinion that vivacities are related to probabilities by a simple subtraction formula (§1). The investigation of Hume's account

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Hume StudiesHume Society

Published: Jan 26, 1981

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