Prof. Jeanne Peijnenburg (University of Groningen): Hume's Most Radical Skeptical Argument

Datum / Uhrzeit:
28.05.19   /  18:30 - 20:00

Institut für Theoretische Philosophie

24.53.01 Raum 81



In A Treatise of Human Nature David Hume presents an argument that led to much debate among Hume scholars. It occurs in the section ‘Of scepticism with regard to reason’ (Treatise 1.4.1), which William Morris called “the least understood” passage in Hume’s writings. The argument aims to show that, if we were to rely purely on reason, ignoring the role of custom, habit and the senses, then inevitably all our beliefs would be destroyed: we would be unable to believe anything. Robert Fogelin therefore speaks about “Hume’s most radical skeptical argument”. In this talk I explain that the argument is invalid as it stands, but for different reasons than have been hitherto put forward. I also explain how the argument can be repaired, and what this means for the Humean view.


Jeanne Peijnenburg is professor emeritus at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen. She studied in Nijmegen, Amsterdam and Groningen, where she took her Ph.D. under Theo Kuipers. She was vice-dean and head of research of the Faculty of Philosophy in Groningen, and chair of the department of Theoretical Philosophy. Most of her papers are in formal epistemology, and appeared in such journals as Erkenntnis, Synthese, Mind, Philosophy of Science, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science and Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic. In 2017 she published together with David Atkinson Fading Foundations: Probability and the Regress Problem (Synthese Library, Open Access). 


Verantwortlich für den Inhalt: E-Mail sendenDekan der Philosophischen Fakultät