Topic 4: Hume

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Suppose Matthew’s uncle Dave, who holds a Humean view of the mind and mental activity visits Melissa and Melinda during their deliberations regarding Matthew’s situation. He says, “Well, I know that you two are the ones to make a decision about Matthew, but here’s what I think. First, listen to what Hume has to say about knowledge. I just happen to have a copy of his Inquiry in my pocketI never leave home with out it! In the very last paragraph, he says,

When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it 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.

“Im really sorry, but this means that one of you is right and one is wrong. So, . . .”

What does Uncle Dave mean? Which sister does he think is wrong? What is she wrong about? How will he justify telling one of the sisters she is wrong? What might this sister say to defend her view on rational grounds? Explain.

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