The Dennes Room

Philosophy 176

Spring 2007

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
176 Hume Stroud MWF 11-12 2 LeConte

A four unit course on the philosophy of David Hume (1711-1776), dealing as thoroughly as possible in the time available with many of the central issues of his major works. Students will be expected to read carefully, to discuss, and to write clearly and perceptively about those works and the problems they raise. No specific prerequisites; completion of at least Philosophy 25B is strongly advised. The richer one’s background in philosophy and the more one reads and thinks and discusses with others, the more one will get from the course. A large body of secondary literature and commentary can be helpful, but the emphasis throughout will be on the words and ideas of Hume himself.

Lectures will discuss primarily but not exclusively the following topics: Introduction-the science of human nature; Operations of the mind: the theory of impressions and ideas; The idea of causation and its source in experience; Belief and the sources of beliefs about the unobserved; The idea of necessary connection; The continued and distinct existence of objects; The self: the idea of personal identity; Paradox, sceptical despair and its cure; Action and its source in feeling or passion; Freedom and necessity; Morality and its sources: not derived from reason; Feeling, sentiment, and sympathy as the basis of morality; The origin and rationale of justice as an ‘artificial virtue’; The origin of government and the source of political obligation; The human point or goal of philosophy.

Course requirements: Three lectures per week; Participation in one discussion section per week; Four five-page papers on selected topics; Final examination.

Previously taught: FL05, FL03.