Date: 23 March 2017
Timing: 2pm to 5pm
2pm to 3.10pm – “Type Distinctions of Reason and Hume’s Separability Principle” by Dr Hsueh Qu
Commentators such as Kemp Smith (1941), Mendelbaum (1974), and Bricke (1980) have taken the distinctions of reason to pose either a counterexample to or a limitation of scope on the Separability Principle. This has been convincingly addressed by various accounts such as Garrett (1997), Hoffman (2011), and Baxter (2011). However, I argue in this paper that there are two notions of ‘distinction of reason’, one between particular instantiations (token distinctions of reason) and one between general ideas (type distinctions of reason). Discussion of the distinctions of reason in the secondary literature has without fail focused on token distinctions of reason, but I will argue that type distinctions of reason prove problematic for Hume’s Separability Principle. I find a way around this problem that is consonant with Hume’s account of general ideas, but which can hardly be said to be an account which he explicitly or even implicitly endorsed.
About the speaker:
Hsueh Qu joined the Philosophy Department at NUS in 2015. Previously, he received his Ph.D. from New York University, and completed his undergraduate and B.Phil. at Oxford University. He is originally from Malaysia. His research interest is Early Modern, primarily the scholarship of David Hume; he also has interests in Kant, Ethics, and Metaphysics. In this, as in all his other endeavors, he asks you to forgive him his failings, for he is only Humean after all.
3.15pm to 5pm – “Logic, Scepticism, and Egoism: Why Hume Disowned the Treatise of Human Nature” by Professor Peter Millican
David Hume (1711-76) is today the most celebrated philosopher of the early modern period, and the Treatise of Human Nature of 1739-40 is considered by most scholars to be his masterpiece, even though Hume himself, shortly before he died, described it as a “juvenile work” and apparently disowned it. This lecture – which draws on three forthcoming papers by Professor Millican – highlights a number of serious philosophical difficulties which, he argues, probably contributed to Hume’s negative judgement on the Treatise. It thus opposes the scholarly consensus that takes Hume’s later views to be essentially unchanged, and if correct, has significant implications for our understanding of the development and implications of Hume’s philosophy.
About the speaker:
Peter Millican is Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College in the University of Oxford. He is one of the foremost scholars of David Hume, noted especially for his detailed analyses of Hume’s arguments concerning induction, causation, free-will, and miracles. For over two decades, he has championed the claim that Hume’s later works – notably the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding of 1748 – represent a significant philosophical advance beyond the 1739 Treatise, and his forceful arguments have played a major role in bringing this (once heretical) view to general prominence. Millican’s philosophical interests are very broad, covering not only Humean topics such as epistemology, metaphysics, moral philosophy and philosophy of religion, but also logic, artificial intelligence, and the philosophical boundaries of computer science. He created the Oxford degree programme in Computer Science and Philosophy, is a keen developer of educational software, and an International Grandmaster of correspondence chess.
All are welcome