Hume's Defence of Causal Inference (Toronto Studies in Philosophy)
By: Fred Wilson (author)Hardback
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The Scottish Philosopher David Hume (1711-76) Has Long Been Considered a sceptic on the subject of induction or causal inference. Bertrand Russell went so far as to suggest that Hume was thus responsible for the development of all subsequent irrationalism. In this book, Fred Wilson convincingly reconstructs the Humean position, showing that Hume was in fact able to defend causal inference as a reasonable practice by using an alternative set of cognitive standards.Wilson demonstrates the workability of Hume's approach to causal reasoning by relating it to more recent discussions, for example, to Bayesian views of scientific inference and to Kuhn's account of scientific rationality. He also presents a variety of intriguing related topics, including a detailed discussion of Hume's treatment of miracles. As a whole, this work successfully argues that insofar as Hume presented philosophy with the problem of induction, it is also true that he solved it.The subtly constructed arguments presented here combine a wide-ranging and detailed knowledge of Hume's texts, sophisticated insight into the problems of causal reasoning that occupied Hume, and meticulous historical scholarship concerning the context of Hume's writings on these problems. This rare combination makes for a unique contribution both to our understanding of Hume and to the philosophical issues concerning causation and scientific method that he addresses.
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- ID: 9780802041586
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