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The Possibility of Philosophical UnderstandingReflections on the Thought of Barry Stroud$
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Jason Bridges, Niko Kolodny, and Wai-hung Wong

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381658.001.0001

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Rethinking Hume's Second Thoughts about Personal Identity

Rethinking Hume's Second Thoughts about Personal Identity

(p.14) (p.15) 2 Rethinking Hume's Second Thoughts about Personal Identity
The Possibility of Philosophical Understanding

Don Garrett

Oxford University Press

What problem led to Hume's famous second thoughts about his own discussion of personal identity? There is no scholarly consensus, but one of the best-known explanations was offered by Barry Stroud in his book Hume. This essay begins by deriving from the texts a set of criteria by which to judge proposed explanations. It then proceeds to distinguish and assess several types of approach, to defend Stroud's general approach against a recent objection, and to explain why Stroud's more specific explanation is promising but in need of further specification. Finally, it provides the needed specification by formulating three Humean doctrines concerning causation and location, describing some of the multiple unacceptable consequences their conjunction produces, and arguing that the resulting problem alone meets the criteria for a satisfactory explanation of Hume's second thoughts.

Keywords:   Hume, Stroud, personal identity, causation, location, place, substance, simplicity, unity, Appendix

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