David Hume, Sceptic

  • Zuzana Parusniková

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Zuzana Parusniková
    Pages 1-25
  3. Zuzana Parusniková
    Pages 27-45
  4. Zuzana Parusniková
    Pages 71-100
  5. Zuzana Parusniková
    Pages 101-112
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 113-126

About this book


This book studies Hume’s scepticism and its roots, context, and role in the philosopher’s life. It relates how Hume wrote his philosophy in a time of tumult, as the millennia-old metaphysical tradition that placed humans and their cognitive abilities in an ontological framework collapsed and gave way to one that placed the autonomy of the individual in its center. It then discusses the birth of modernity that Descartes inaugurated and Kant completed with his Copernican revolution that moved philosophy from Being to the Self. It shows how modernity gave rise to a new kind of scepticism, involving doubt not just about the adequacy of our knowledge but about the very existence of a world independent of the self. The book then examines how Hume faced the sceptical implications and how his empiricism added yet another sceptical theme with the main question being how argument can legitimize key concepts of human understanding instinctively used in making sense of our perceptions. Placing it firmly in a historical context, the book shows how Hume was influenced by Pyrrhonian scepticism and how this becomes clear in Hume’s acceptance of the weakness of reason and in his emphasis on the practical role of philosophy. As the book argues, rather than serving as the foundation of science, in Hume’s hand, philosophy became a guide to a joyful, happy life, to a documentary of common life and to moderately educated, entertaining conversation. This way Hume stands in strong opposition to the (early) modern mainstream.


Cartesian Paradigm David Hume Epistemology Philosophy of Life Pyrrhonian Crisis Scepticism

Authors and affiliations

  • Zuzana Parusniková
    • 1
  1. 1.The Czech Academy of SciencesInstitute of PhilosophyPragueCzech Republic

Bibliographic information