Problems of Philosophy in 2013 was unusually lively. Two members of that class, Patrick and Josh, enjoyed the parts of Hume’s Enquiry that we read. Ignoring the arguments about induction, but accepting the assumptions in the chapter on miracles, they figured that they would enjoy reading even more Hume.
They had me at “more Hume.” So we put together a directed reading course (Philosophy 199) that they would take P/NC. Then we started reading a chapter a week from Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature. We covered Part I in fall 2014 and most of Parts II and III in spring 2015.
Sure enough, we had a really great time. So in fall 2015, we did the first twelve chapters of Hobbes’s Leviathan. One question that came up was whether Hobbes or Hume was right about the state of nature. That led us to read Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature in spring 2016.
We were a bit adrift about what to do in fall of 2016 until it occurred to me that I have another favorite philosopher besides Hume: Bernard Williams. His Morality: an Introduction to Ethics was the obvious choice.
It is misleading to suggest that it was only me, Josh, and Patrick. Alex, Boyu, Louis, and RaSia were regular members and there was a stretch when seven or eight people would show up. In fall 2016, we have another Josh, Peter, Paskalina, Will, and Benji. But it was Josh and Patrick’s idea at the beginning and they have been the core members throughout. (It’s also misleading to say this has only been about Hume. But he got us started so he gets top billing.)
In 2018, Paskalina was the driving force behind getting the band together again. She, James, and I read the Enquiry Concerning Human Knowledge.
My office is Pearsons 207.
My email address and office phone number are available from the Pomona College directory: select Faculty/Staff and enter my name.
My home page has links to websites for my other courses.