Difficult times for Humean identity?
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It is no wonder that the main approaches to so many central philosophical topics—from causation to motivation, from concepts to morals—include one often dubbed “Humeanism” about the topic; for Hume brought both originality and penetration to almost every philosophical issue he addressed. Until the work of Donald Baxter, however, the originality and penetration of Hume’s accounts of time and identity were rarely appreciated. Indeed, as Hume’s Difficulty: Time and Identity in theTreatise makes clear, a long line of distinguished commentators has systemically misunderstood them. This is partly because some key passages of Hume’s text readily lend themselves to misconstrual, especially when taken out of context, and partly because much of the key argumentation occurs in the insufficiently-studied Book I Part ii of the Treatise, “Of the ideas of space and time.” Partly too, though, it is because some of his claims seem, when taken at face value, just too strange or contradictory to credit....
KeywordsPersonal Identity Temporal Part Moral Sense Reasonable Belief Perfect Identity
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