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Philosophy - Philosophical Traditions | Imagined Causes: Hume's Conception of Objects

Imagined Causes: Hume's Conception of Objects

Rocknak, Stefanie

2012, XVI, 292 p.

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  • The first comprehensive account of Hume’s conception of objects
  • Discusses hotly debated claims in recent literature, such as why some causal relations are justified, and why Hume is not a “skeptical realist”  
  • Contains many analyses that sharply diverge from traditional accounts 

This book provides the first comprehensive account of Hume’s conception of objects in Book I of A Treatise of Human Nature. What, according to Hume, are objects? Ideas? Impressions? Mind-independent objects? All three? None of the above? Through a close textual analysis, Rocknak shows that Hume thought that objects are imagined ideas. But, she argues, he struggled with two accounts of how and when we imagine such ideas. On the one hand, Hume believed that we always and universally imagine that objects are the causes of our perceptions. On the other hand, he thought that we only imagine such causes when we reach a “philosophical” level of thought. This tension manifests itself in Hume’s account of personal identity; a tension that, Rocknak argues, Hume acknowledges in the Appendix to the Treatise. As a result of Rocknak’s detailed account of Hume’s conception of objects, we are forced to accommodate new interpretations of, at least, Hume’s notions of belief, personal identity, justification and causality.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Conception of Objects - David Hume - Imagined Causes - Modern Philosophy - Objects Hume - Treatise of Human Nature

Related subjects » Philosophical Traditions

Table of contents 

General Introduction.- PART I: LAYING THE GROUNDWORK.- 1. Four Distinctions.- 2. Elementary Belief, Causally-Produced Belief and the Natural Relation of Causality.- 3. The Two Systems of Reality.- PART II: PERFECT IDENTITY AND THE TRANSCENDENTAL IMAGINATION.- 4. Proto-Objects.- 5. The First Account of Transcendental Perfect Identity: The Foundation of Secret Causes.- 6. A Mysterious Kind of Causation: The Second Account of Transcendental Perfect Identity.- 7. Unity, Number and Time: The Third Account of Transcendental Perfect Identity.- PART III: IMAGINING CAUSES IN REACTION TO THE VULGAR: A PURELY PHILOSOPHICAL ENDEAVOR.- 8. The Vulgar Attempt to Achieve Perfect Identity.- 9. The Philosopher’s Reaction to the Vulgar: Imagined Causes Revisited.- 10. Personal Identity.- PART IV: JUSTIFICATION.- 11. Three Unjustified Instances of Imagined Causes: Substances, Primary Qualities and the Soul as an Immaterial Object.- 12. Conclusion.- Bibliography.- Index

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