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Custom and Reason in HumeA Kantian Reading of the First Book of the Treatise$
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Henry E. Allison

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532889

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532889.001.0001

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Hume's Analysis of Inductive Inference

Hume's Analysis of Inductive Inference

(p.112) 5 Hume's Analysis of Inductive Inference
Custom and Reason in Hume

Henry E. Allison

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with Hume's treatment of particular causal inferences, which is usually referred to as the problem of induction. It is argued that the central question that Hume poses, namely, whether such inference is to be understood as a product of reason or custom, is to be viewed as one in cognitive psychology rather than normative epistemology. In light of this, it is further maintained that Hume's conclusion that such inference is a product of the latter does not entail (though it is compatible with) inductive scepticism. As a means of indicating the complexity of Hume's position and laying the foundation for a non-sceptical reading of his views on induction, it is further suggested that inductive reasoning, as Hume conceives it, falls partly within and partly without the ‘space of reasons’, which is connected with the thesis that causation is both a philosophical and a natural relation.

Keywords:   causal inference, cognitive psychology, induction, natural relations, normative epistemology, philosophical relations, scepticism

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