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Hume on Philosophy

 
 
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 12:47 pm
Does [this philosophy] contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

That's Hume's recommendation of what passes of as philosophy these days; let em burn baby burn.
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kennethamy
 
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Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 01:46 pm
@Phikomatter,
Phikomatter wrote:

Does [this philosophy] contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

That's Hume's recommendation of what passes of as philosophy these days; let em burn baby burn.


You need a little history. Hume was targeting deductive metaphysics as exemplified by Spinoza and Descartes. The question for him was what would replace deductive metaphysics. It was not as if Hume did not philosophize at all. What would you call his discussion of causation if not philosophy? In fact, Hume's advice was what nowadays is called, "the naturalization of philosophy". He suggested that philosophers do for the "moral sciences" what Newton and Galileo did for the physical sciences. That is, put the moral sciences on a firm foundation. What Hume meant by the "moral sciences" was what we now call the social sciences. But, it is true that Hume roundly rejected deductive metaphysics as is vividly displayed in that famous purple passage from the Enquiry. In fact, Kant agreed with "the astute Mr. Hume" about deductive metaphysics. He thought it was at a dead end. But Kant had a different suggestion. He suggested the revival of metaphysics in a new form. Namely "critical metaphysics". And he went about attempting to formulate this new kind of physics in his "Critique of Pure Reason". A little background to what Hume wrote is really needed. Otherwise you find yourself in a huge misunderstanding.

Let me remind you that since Hume was born long before "these days" his criticism was not directed at "philosophy these days". Philosophy these days is quite different from the deductive metaphysics Hume was criticizing. I fact, it is completely opposed to it, largely on account of Hume's criticism of it.
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