Contexts for Hume's Epistemological Projects

Louis E. Loeb

in Stability and Justification in Hume's Treatise

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780195146585
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833405 | DOI:
 Contexts for Hume's Epistemological Projects

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Hume assigns a pivotal role to stability in understanding normativity in a variety of theoretical contexts, including the passions, justice, and moral judgment; in epistemology, he seeks to sustain his pretheoretical epistemic intuitions in terms of a stability‐based theory of justification. A distinctive feature of Hume's naturalism is that he tends to ground epistemic obligation in the desire to relieve the discomfort or felt uneasiness in unsettled states. Since he rejects the Pyrrhonian claim that ataraxia or quietude results from an equipollence of opposing arguments where belief is suspended, if tranquillity is to be secured, it will have to be within a system of beliefs. In this regard, a series of hopeful results ultimately give way to a destructive conclusion, a negative assessment of the prospects for stability in belief, and hence for justified belief, at least for the reflective person. This overall interpretive perspective is compared to that of Kemp Smith, MacNabb and Passmore, Garrett, and the reflexive approval interpretation of Baier and Korsgaard.

Keywords: Baier; Garrett; Hume; Korsgaard; MacNabb; naturalism; normativity; passions; Passmore; Pyrrhonian; Kemp Smith

Chapter.  19264 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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