Chapter

Reason

Jonathan Bennett

in Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 2

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198250920
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597060 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198250924.003.0018

Series: Learning from Six Philosophers (2 Volumes)

 Reason

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Hume shares many philosophical opinions with Spinoza, including the view that there is no sharp radical intellectual difference in kind between humans and other animals. His account of reason's role in demonstrative reasoning is unstable and unclear: it involves a compulsion on the thinker's part, but not a compulsion to believe the conclusion. He offers a sceptical attack on reason—fighting it with its own weapons—purporting to show that none of its deliverances has any probative force whatsoever. In fact, it fails in two ways to secure this sceptical result. Hume, who thinks it does succeed, says that nevertheless nobody will be affected for long by that result; and he takes this as evidence of the robustness of human nature.

Keywords: animal; demonstrative reasoning; human nature; Hume; reason; scepticism; Spinoza

Chapter.  7428 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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