Abstract

I argue that Hume employs a notion of the a priori that, though unfamiliar today, was standard in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On this notion of the a priori, to know something a priori is to know it from the grounds that make it true—that is, from grounds that do not merely establish that it is true, but explain why it is true. I am particularly concerned to show that Hume uses this notion of the a priori in discussing the nature of inductive—or in his terms, probable—reasoning in Section IV of the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. For recognizing this point helps to clarify the problem about the rational justification of induction that Hume develops over the course of this discussion.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 313-343
Launched on MUSE
2010-07-01
Open Access
No
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