Chapter

Constancy and Coherence in I.iv.2

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195146581.003.0006
 Constancy and Coherence in I.iv.2

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Insofar as the vulgar belief in body arises from the ”constancy” of perceptions, it is due to the propensity to attribute identity to related objects; insofar as it arises from ”coherence,” it is produced by custom and the galley, mechanisms allied with causal inference. Since constancy is a special case of coherence, Hume could have avoided this bipartite account, subsuming constancy under custom‐and‐galley. Convinced, however, by double vision and perceptual relativity that the vulgar belief is false, Hume sought to consign it to the ”imagination” in a pejorative sense. Hume was also in the grip of a thesis about causation, that only changes have causes, so that he could not contemplate a role for causal inference in cases of constancy or unchanging objects. ”Of scepticism with regard to the senses” can be amended to provide a more positive account of the belief in body, as well as a more coherent account of the propensity to ascribe identity.

Keywords: body; causation; Hume; coherence; constancy; double vision; imagination; perceptual relativity; skepticism; vulgar

Chapter.  20864 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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