Chapter

A Kantian Way Out of Hume's Quandary

Wayne Waxman

in Kant and the Empiricists

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195177398
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786176 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195177398.003.0004
 A Kantian Way Out of Hume's Quandary

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This chapter considers a way to make the case that Hume’s own premises, if strictly adhered to, inexorably points beyond empirical psychologism to transcendentalism. This concerns a difficulty Hume detected but failed to resolve: the quandary of personal identity described in an appendix to the second volume of A Treatise of Human Nature. Hume was unable to explain the principles that united successive perceptions in thought or consciousness. Since the same Humean principles that made mathematics vulnerable to the skeptical argument on the necessity of a cause for every beginning of existence prevented Hume from finding a way out of the quandary, it is natural to wonder if Kant’s doctrine of pure sensibility may have been the explanatory principle Hume sought. It is shown that Kant’s psychologism provides a solution to the quandary not open to Hume’s empirical psychologism.

Keywords: Immanuel Kant; David Hume; psychologism; personal identity

Chapter.  20622 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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