- SCIENCE OF MAN. What is the project? Treatise, Introduction, pp. 3-6; Abstract, pp. 405-17. Tu 4 Jan
- THEORY OF IDEAS. What is the theory of ideas? How important is the principle that every idea is copied from an impression? Treatise, 1.1.1-7, pp. 7-22. Th 6 Jan
- REASON & KNOWLEDGE. What does Hume mean by “reason”? The problem of induction (esp. §6). Treatise, 1.3.1-6, pp. 50-65. Tu 11 Jan
- BELIEF. (1) What is distinctive about belief? Treatise, 1.3.7-8, pp. 65-74; Appendix, pp. 396-8. (2) Does the discussion of probable reasoning fit with a skeptical interpretation of the problem of induction? Treatise, 1.3.11-13, 15, pp. 86-104, 116-8. Th 13 Jan. Updates:
- NECESSARY CONNECTION: BACKGROUND. Occasionalism: motion of inert matter requires divine omnipotence. Treatise, 1.3.14, pp. 105-16; Malebranche. Tu 18 Jan
- NECESSARY CONNECTION: MOE. Different strains: meaning, ontology, and epistemology. How they are used in competing interpretations. Treatise, 1.3.14, pp. 105-16. Th 20 Jan
- SCEPTICISM ABOUT THE SENSES. Why do we believe in external objects when all we have are perceptions? Criticism of philosophical theory of double existence of perceptions and objects. Treatise, 1.4.2, pp. 125-44. Tu 25 Jan
- SUBSTANCE, BODY, AND MIND. Philosophical attempts to explain how perceived qualities hang together as things. For bodies: ancients, substances vs. accidents; moderns, primary vs. secondary qualities. For minds, neither materialism nor immaterialism is satisfactory. Treatise, 1.4.3-5, pp. 144-64. Th 27 Jan.
- PERSONAL IDENTITY. Q: why do we believe in personal identity? A: modified version of Locke’s memory theory. Hume’s inscrutable second thoughts. Treatise, 1.4.6, pp. 164-71; Appendix, pp. 398-401; Locke. Tu 1 Feb
- NATURE OF HUME’S SCEPTICISM. What do we learn from the sceptical arguments? Treatise, 1.4.7, pp. 171-178. Th 3 Feb
- THEORY OF THE PASSIONS. Indirect passions and the double relation of impressions and ideas. Application to self-directed (pride, humility) and other directed (love, hatred) passions. Treatise, 2.1.1-5, 2.1.11, 2.2.1; pp. 181-90, 206-11, 214-6. Tu 8 Feb
- LIBERTY & NECESSITY. Responsibility for actions depends on their being caused by character. Why we think we have liberty: we don’t feel forced. Apparent tension with book 1 account, which involves feeling forced. Treatise, 2.3.1-2, pp. 257-265. Th 10 Feb
- REASON & THE WILL. Reason cannot influence the will, much less control it. Treatise, 2.2.3, pp. 265-8. Tu 15 Feb
- REASON & MORALITY: BACKGROUND. Two opponents: rationalists and egoistic conventionalists. Treatise, 3.1.1-2, pp. 293-306; 3.3.6, pp. 393-5; Hobbes, Clarke. Th 17 Feb
- REASON & MORALITY: MOPE. Different strains: meaning, ontology, psychology, and epistemology. How they are used in competing interpretations. Treatise, 3.1.1-2. Tu 22 Feb
- NATURAL VIRTUES. Theory: virtues are qualities immediately agreeable or useful to self or others. Shallow distinction between moral virtues and natural abilities. Treatise, 3.3.1-5, pp. 367-93. Th 24 Feb
- ARTIFICIAL VIRTUES: JUSTICE. Justice doesn’t fit the story about natural virtues: being just is sometimes neither useful nor agreeable. The artificial virtue story explains why we treat justice as a virtue. Does the story rely too heavily on self-interest? Treatise, 3.2.1-2, pp. 307-22; 3.2.6, pp. 337-42. Tu 1 Mar
- HUME & KANT. Compare their treatment of the motive of duty. Treatise, 126.96.36.199-8, pp. 307-9; 188.8.131.52-6, pp. 332-3; Kant. Th 3 Mar
- HUME’S MORAL SUBJECTIVISM. Why isn’t it a matter of objective fact whether acts are virtuous or vicious? See the theory of natural virtue, e.g.. How does Hume handle moral conflict? Hume, “A Dialogue.” Tu 8 Mar
About the notes
It’s rare to learn things the first time out, therefore, I summarize the main points of each lecture. Repetition can help even the best of us. More selfishly, sometimes I want to pursue a point that I did not have time to discuss in the lectures. That sort of thing will be of interest to students who just can’t get enough.
Notes for class sessions are linked to dates; notes on readings are linked to readings.