Chapter

Introduction

David Owen

in Hume's Reason

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780199252602
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598159 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199252602.003.0001
Introduction

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In the early modern period, reason was considered to be one of the higher cognitive faculties, and could be considered to function independently of the other cognitive faculties, such as the senses, the imagination, and memory. The faculty psychology of the period centrally involved ideas, rejected scholastic formalism, and was both psychologically descriptive and logically normative. The primary function of reason was to account for inference. Hume's account must be understood against this background, as he uses its vocabulary and shares many of its perspectives. He departs from the tradition in rejecting faculty psychology, at least to the extent of treating reason as an independently functioning faculty. The inferential activities of reason, both demonstrative and probable, are given a distinctively new treatment in terms of the properties of the imagination.

Keywords: cognition; cognitive faculty; demonstrative; faculty psychology; formalism; Hume; ideas; imagination; inference; memory; normative; probable; reason; senses

Chapter.  4823 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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