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Beebee, Helen, and . Hume on Causation

2006, Routledge

Publisher’s Note: Hume on Causation is the first major work dedicated to Hume’s views on causation in over fifteen years, and it argues that Hume does not subscribe to any of the three views he is traditionally credited with. The first view is the ‘regularity view of causation’. The second is the view that the world appears to us as a world of unconnected events, and the third is inductive scepticism: the view that the ‘problem of induction’, the problem of providing a justification for inference from observed to unobserved regularities, is insoluble.It places Hume’s interest in causation within the context of his theory of the mind and his theory of causal reasoning, arguing that Hume’s conception of causation derives from his conception of the nature of the inference from causes to effects.

Comment: This book serves as an introduction to the topic of causation. Beebee covers all the major issues and debates in the topic. The books offers an overview that can help undergraduates to learn about the problem of causation and necessity connection. It could be useful as well for postgraduates who want to research Hume's views.

Cohon, Rachel, and . Hume’s Moral Philosophy

2010, E. N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy [electronic resource]

Introduction: Hume’s position in ethics, which is based on his empiricist theory of the mind, is best known for asserting four theses: (1) Reason alone cannot be a motive to the will, but rather is the “slave of the passions” (see Section 3) (2) Moral distinctions are not derived from reason (see Section 4). (3) Moral distinctions are derived from the moral sentiments: feelings of approval (esteem, praise) and disapproval (blame) felt by spectators who contemplate a character trait or action (see Section 7). (4) While some virtues and vices are natural (see Section 13), others, including justice, are artificial (see Section 9). There is heated debate about what Hume intends by each of these theses and how he argues for them. He articulates and defends them within the broader context of his metaethics and his ethic of virtue and vice.

Hume’s main ethical writings are Book 3 of his Treatise of Human Nature, “Of Morals” (which builds on Book 2, “Of the Passions”), his Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, and some of his Essays. In part the moral Enquiry simply recasts central ideas from the moral part of the Treatise in a more accessible style; but there are important differences. The ethical positions and arguments of the Treatise are set out below, noting where the moral Enquiry agrees; differences between the Enquiry and the Treatise are discussed afterwards.


Ginsborg, Hannah, and . Aesthetic Judgment and Perceptual Normativity

2006, Inquiry 49(5): 403-437.

Abstract: I draw a connection between the question, raised by Hume and Kant, of how aesthetic judgments can claim universal agreement, and the question, raised in recent discussions of nonconceptual content, of how concepts can be acquired on the basis of experience. Developing an idea suggested by Kant’s linkage of aesthetic judgment with the capacity for empirical conceptualization, I propose that both questions can be resolved by appealing to the idea of “perceptual normativity”. Perceptual experience, on this proposal, involves the awareness of its own appropriateness with respect to the object perceived, where this appropriateness is more primitive than truth or veridicality. This means that a subject can take herself to be perceiving an object as she (and anyone else) ought to perceive it, without first recognizing the object as falling under a corresponding concept. I motivate the proposal through a criticism of Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition, which, I argue, rests on a confusion between the notion of a way something is perceived, and that of a way it is perceived as being. Whereas Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition depends on an illicit slide between these two notions, the notion of perceptual normativity allows a legitimate transition between them: if someone’s perceiving something a certain way involves her taking it that she ought to perceive it that way, then she perceives the thing as being a certain way, so that the corresponding concept is available to her in perceptual experience.

Comment: This paper will mainly be of relevance in relation to the antinomy or paradox of taste, a problem famously examined by Hume and Kant. It may also be of use in relation to topics in the Philosophy of Perception or Epistemology, or in teaching on Kant's Critique of Judgment. Ginsbourg presents a very thorough discussion of the notion that perceptions make concepts available by involving implicit claims to their own appropriateness; she uses this idea to make an interesting and plausible contribution to the debate regarding the antinomy of taste.

Hampton, Jean, and . Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition

1986, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Publisher’s Note: This major study of Hobbes’s political philosophy draws on recent developments in game and decision theory to explore whether the thrust of the argument in Leviathan, that it is in the interests of the people to create a ruler with absolute power, can be shown to be cogent. Professor Hampton has written a book of vital importance to political philosophers, political and social scientists, and intellectual historians.

Comment: Hampton offers a 'rational reconstruction' of Hobbes's argument, arguing that it fails in a way which shows that the alienation model in social contract theory suffers from some fundamental flaws. The book offers an interesting insights which can inspire student essays and dissertations, and can be a good further or advanced reading for Hobbes.

Kochiras, Hilarie, and . Locke’s Philosophy of Science

2009, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

Abstract: This article examines questions connected with the two features of Locke’s intellectual landscape that are most salient for understanding his philosophy of science: (1) the profound shift underway in disciplinary boundaries, in methodological approaches to understanding the natural world, and in conceptions of induction and scientific knowledge; and (2) the dominant scientific theory of his day, the corpuscular hypothesis. Following the introduction, section 2 addresses questions connected to changing conceptions of scientific knowledge. What does Locke take science (scientia) and scientific knowledge to be generally, why does he think that scientia in natural philosophy is beyond the reach of human beings, and what characterizes the conception of human knowledge in natural philosophy that he develops? Section 3 addresses the question provoked by Locke’s apparently conflicting treatments of the corpuscular hypothesis. Does he accept or defend the corpuscular hypothesis? If not, what is its role in his thought, and what explains its close connection to key theses of the Essay? Since a scholarly debate has arisen about the status of the corpuscular hypothesis for Locke, Section 3 reviews some main positions in that debate. Section 4 considers the relationship between Locke’s thought and that of a figure instrumental to the changing conceptions of scientific knowledge, Isaac Newton

Comment: Perfect as an introduction for undergraduates to Locke's philosophy of science. It is a really good overview article.

Maddy, Penelope, and . The Philosophy of Logic

2012, Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 18(4): 481-504.

Abstract: This talk surveys a range of positions on the fundamental metaphysical and epistemological questions about elementary logic, for example, as a starting point: what is the subject matter of logic – what makes its truths true? how do we come to know the truths of logic? A taxonomy is approached by beginning from well-known schools of thought in the philosophy of mathematics – Logicism, Intuitionism, Formalism, Realism – and sketching roughly corresponding views in the philosophy of logic. Kant, Mill, Frege, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Ayer, Quine, and Putnam are among the philosophers considered along the way.

Comment: This is a survey article which considers positions within philosophy of logic analogous to the views held by the various schools of the philosophy of mathematics. The article touches briefly on many positions and authors and is thus an excellent introduction to the philosophy of logic, specially for students already familiar with the philosophy of mathematics. The text is informal and it does not involve any proofs.

Massimi, Michela, and . Philosophy and the sciences after Kant

2009, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 84(65): 275.

Summary: In this article Massimi discusses the important role that history and philosophy of science plays or ought to play within philosophy. The aim of the paper is to offer a historical reconstruction and a possible diagnosis of why the long marriage between philosophy and the sciences was eventually wrong after Kant. Massimi examines Kant’s view on philosophy and the sciences, from his early scientific writings to the development of critical philosophy and the pressing epistemological he felt the need to address in response to the sciences of his time.

Comment: Really useful as an historical overview of the relation between history and philosophy of science and mainstream philosophy. It is also useful for introducing students to Kant's philosophy of science. It is an easy reading recommended for undergraduates.

Shapiro, Lisa, and . Princess Elizabeth and Descartes: The union of soul and body and the practice of philosophy

1999, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 7(3): 503-520.

Summary: In this paper, Shapiro aims to explore Princess Elizabeth’s own philosophical position, as developed in her correspondence with Descartes. In particular, Shapiro is interested in tracing Elizabeth’s own thought about the nature of the union of soul and body. Shapiro argues that Elizabeth develops her view from her early, famous objection against Descartes’ notion of the union of soul and body given his substance dualism to her later (less known) objections to Descartes’ neo-Stoic advice to her about regulating her passions. According to Shapiro, Elizabeth defends a unique philosophical position, one that is intermediary between substance dualism and reductionist materialism. On this view, the mind is autonomous yet it depends on the (good health of the) body to function properly. Shapiro concludes her paper by reconsidering Elizabeth’s practice of philosophy in light of the lack of a systematic treatment of philosophical issue by her.

Comment:  This article is a nice introduction to Princess Elizabeth’s own philosophical thinking, although it might require some familiarity with Elizabeth-Descartes correspondence. Lisa Shapiro aims to take Elizabeth seriously as a philosopher, focusing on her view of the nature of the union of soul and body, as set forth in her correspondence with Descartes. She also reconsiders Elizabeth’s practice of philosophy: she argues that the lack of a systematic treatment of philosophical issues on Elizabeth’s part does not make her any less of a philosopher.

Sowaal, Alice, and . Mary Astell’s Serious Proposal: Mind, Method, and Custom

2007, Philosophy Compass 2/2: 227-243

Abstract: In general outline, Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies is well understood. In Part I, Astell argues that women are educable, and she proposes the construction of a women’s academy. In Part II, she proposes a method for the improvement of the mind. In this article, I reconstruct and contextualize Astell’s arguments and proposals within her theory of mind and her account of the skeptical predicament that she sees as being endemic among women. I argue that Astell’s two proposals are best understood as strategies that, when employed, will allow women to critique prejudice and custom.

Comment: This is a very accessible article and would be a good secondary source to assign for an introductory course reading Astell's work, ‘A Serious Proposal to the Ladies.’

Spencer, Quayshawn, and . Do Newton’s Rules of Reasoning Guarantee Truth … Must They?

2004, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 35(4): 759-782.

Abstract: Newton’s Principia introduces four rules of reasoning for natural philosophy. Although useful, there is a concern about whether Newton’s rules guarantee truth. After redirecting the discussion from truth to validity, I show that these rules are valid insofar as they fulfill Goodman’s criteria for inductive rules and Newton’s own methodological program of experimental philosophy; provided that cross-checks are used prior to applications of rule 4 and immediately after applications of rule 2 the following activities are pursued: (1) research addressing observations that systematically deviate from theoretical idealizations and (2) applications of theory that safeguard ongoing research from proceeding down a garden path.

Comment: A good examination of the relationship of scientific practices to truth, put in a historical context. Would be useful in a history and philosophy of science course.