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Stability and Justification in Hume's Treatise - Louis E. Loeb

Stability and Justification in Hume's Treatise

Hardcover

Published: 1st September 2002
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David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature is famous for its extreme skepticism. Louis Loeb argues that Hume's destructive conclusions have in fact obscured a constructive stage that Hume abandons prematurely.
Working within a philosophical tradition that values tranquillity, Hume favors an epistemology that links justification with settled belief. Hume appeals to psychological stability to support his own epistemological assessments, both favorable regarding causal inference, and unfavorable regarding imaginative propensities. The theory's success in explaining Hume's epistemic distinctions gives way to pessimism, since Hume contends that reflection on beliefs is deeply destabilizing. So much the worse, Hume concludes, for placing a premium on reflection. Hume endorses and defends the position that stable beliefs of unreflective persons are justified, though they would not survive reflection. At the same time, Hume relishes the paradox that unreflective beliefs enjoy a preferred epistemic status and strains to establish it. Loeb introduces a series of amendments to the Treatise that secures a more positive result for justified belief while maintaining Hume's fundamental principles.
In his review of Hume's applications of his epistemology, Loeb uncovers a stratum of psychological doctrine beyond associationism, a theory of conditions in which beliefs are felt to conflict and of the resolution of this uneasiness or dissonance. This theory of mental conflict is also essential to Hume's strategy for integrating empiricism about meaning with his naturalism. However, Hume fails to provide a general account of the conditions in which conflicting beliefs lead to persisting instability, so his theory is incomplete.
Loeb explores Hume's concern with stability in reference to his discussions of belief, education, the probability of causes, unphilosophical probability, the belief in body, sympathy and moral judgment, and the passions, among other topics.

Prefacep. vii
Abbreviationsp. xv
Stability and Justification in Hume's Treatisep. xvii
Contexts for Hume's Epistemological Projectsp. 3
Causal Inference, Associationism, and the Understandingp. 38
Integrating Hume's Accounts of Belief and Justificationp. 60
Unphilosophical Probability and Judgments Arising from Sympathyp. 101
The Propensity to Ascribe Identity to Related Objectsp. 139
Constancy and Coherence in I.Iv.2p. 177
Difficulties-contrived and Suppressedp. 215
Bibliographyp. 253
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195146585
ISBN-10: 0195146581
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 1st September 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.5  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.59