Hume and Reason


  • Marco Antonio Frangiotti UFSC



In this article I challenge the current view that Hume is a naturalist as well as a sceptic. I hold he is a peculiar kind of rationalist. I argue that his position is best viewed as a philosophical approach designed to accommodate the tendencies of human nature. This task is carried out by means of a second-order reflection, which turns out to be based upon reason of a non-demonstrative kind. It is brought into clear focus when the mind discovers a conflict between two tendencies. In section one, I highlight this kind of conflict in Hume's account of causal inference. In section two, I unfold the conflict that can be found in his account of our belief in the continued and independent existence of objects. In section three, I show how it is possible to reconcile our tendencies. I maintain that this reconciliation is effected by means of second-order, reason-based arguments. In section four, I examine the status of Hume's scepticism in the light of the preceding account and conclude that his standpoint is not sceptical at all.