Chapter

Epistemology, Semantics, and Ontology

Galen Strawson

in The Evident Connexion

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608508
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608508.003.0001
Epistemology, Semantics, and Ontology

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Chapter 1 expounds Hume’s overall philosophical position, which is one of ‘sceptical realism’ in the sense introduced by John P. Wright. On the one hand, as a ‘moderate sceptic’, Hume believes in the existence of a world of physical objects governed by laws of nature — by causal necessity. On the other hand, he is, like Locke, concerned to stress our radical ignorance of the fundamental nature of this world. According to Hume’s empiricism, all our clear and distinct concepts of features of the world — all those that can feature in statements that can claim to express knowledge of the world — are copies of simple sensory experiences, internal or external, or complex contructions out of such simple experiences. The main task of Chapter1 is to show how he combines his scepticism — his view about the strong limitations on precise knowledge of the world — with his natural realism about that world.

Keywords: empiricism; knowledge; scepticism; realism; sceptical realism; causation; necessity; concept empiricism

Chapter.  12961 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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