NATURALISM AND SCEPTICISM IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF HUME

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Transliteration of original Title: 
Naturalizm i skepticizm v filosofii Juma
Author(s): 
Barry Stroud
University of California at Berkeley (USA)
Issue number: 
No. 1 (Vol. 31)
Pages: 
36-51
Abstract: 

The “mitigated scepticism” Hume recommends is a condition or state of mind that he regards not only as the most satisfactory outcome of philosophical reflection but also as the best way to live.  It can be called a “sceptical” state or stance, but it is a purely natural result of intense philosophical reflections that lead inevitably at first to the “excessive” or “Pyrrhonist” “sceptical” quandary.  The inevitability with which the curious human thinker is first driven into that disaster comes from the acceptance of “reason” as the distinctive foundation of human nature.  The inevitability with which that same human being is eventually freed from that “sceptical” quandary comes from “nature” alone.  Both movements of thought are essential for achieving the best human outcome.  So there is a way in which both “scepticism” and “naturalism” are central to Hume’s understanding of human nature and his conception of a full and distinctively human life.  Pursuing the “science of man” in the way he proposes is what he thinks will bring this most agreeable human condition home to us. 

Keywords: 
David Hume, naturalism, scepticism, epistemology, history of philosophy
References: 

Hume D. A Treatise of Human Nature ; ed. by L.A. Selby-Bigge. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1958.

The Letters of David Hume ; ed. by J.Y.T. Grieg. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1969. Vol. I. P. 16.

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