Fall 2008

Hume’s Masterpiece

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-47


Jonathan M. Vogel (Section 01)


If we think about it, it’s natural to suppose that sensory experience is the source of all our concepts and all our knowledge about the world. This view is known as empiricism. David Hume, one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived, provided an extremely radical and searching exposition of empiricism in A Treatise of Human Knowledge (Book One). We’ll read Hume carefully, and also consider contemporary responses to the issues Hume raises. For example, we’ll discuss recent attacks on the doctrine of empiricism itself. We’ll also take up one of the most profound and troubling problems in all of philosophy, namely Humean skepticism about induction, and current attempts to address this problem. This course satisfies the figure/movement requirement for the major. Requisite: One course in philosophy; Philosophy 18 recommended but not required. Fall semester. Professor Vogel.