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Ideas, Evidence, and MethodHume's Skepticism and Naturalism concerning Knowledge and Causation$
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Graciela De Pierris

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716785

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716785.001.0001

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Hume’s Skeptical Treatment of the Causal Inductive Inference

Hume’s Skeptical Treatment of the Causal Inductive Inference

(p.197) 4 Hume’s Skeptical Treatment of the Causal Inductive Inference
Ideas, Evidence, and Method

Graciela De Pierris

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 develops a novel skeptical inductivist interpretation of Hume’s argument concerning the inference from observed constant conjunction. It rejects deductivist skeptical and anti-skeptical interpretations, but especially the view that Hume is concerned merely with cognitive mechanisms, not justification. The present interpretation understands Hume’s rejection of probable justification for the uniformity principle underlying Newton’s inductive method as linked to his rejection of demonstrative justification. Yet Hume’s argument is still connected with a search for the justification of the idea of necessary connection: Hume’s conception cannot be reduced to a pure regularity view. Rather, Newton’s inductive method leads Hume to a new conception of necessary connection projected by the mind rather than residing in nature—a conception that has normative force from Hume’s naturalistic standpoint but provides no justification from his radically skeptical standpoint for either the inductive inference, the uniformity principle, or the attribution of necessary connections to nature.

Keywords:   cognitive mechanism, constant conjunction, demonstrative justification, necessary connection, probable justification, regularity view, skeptical inductivist interpretation, uniformity principle

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