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82. Hume's Philosophy of Mind, by John Bricke. (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1980) Pp. 176. $18.50. This book provides a systematic examination of Hume's theory of the mind and the mental. Bricke' s case for a dualistic interpretation of Hume, his discussion of mental dispositions, and his careful examinations of Hume's theories of thought, judgment, introspection, and sensory awareness are sufficient to make this work a very important addition to the Hume literature. Nonetheless, there are two shortcomings in the work. First, Bricke pays insufficient attention to Hume's method. Secondly, Bricke' s case for Hume's dualism is incomplete: he neither recognizes that Hume's dualism is not merely a dualism of mind and body nor does he provide a positive account of the lines along which Hume drew his dualistic distinctions. Hume's objective in the Treatise was to discover the essence of the mind by employing the Baconian (experimental ) method (Txvii; cf. title page). At the heart of the Baconian method is the formulation and testing of hypotheses. Hume's hypothesis was that the mind is a bundle of perceptions held together by the relations of contiguity, causation, and resemblance. In testing this hypothesis, Hume asked whether the principles of the association of ideas would allow him to explain the common man's belief in the external world, the belief in material substance, and the belief in personal identity. Bricke, on the other hand, approaches Hume's discussions of the mind and the mental through the lens of contemporary discussions of those topics and faces the associated hazards, e.g. , the tendency to stress judgment rather than belief. Bricke pays little attention to Hume's explanatory program, and to the extent he discusses that program, he takes it to be primarily intended to explain conceptformation rather than belief. In examining Hume's discussion 83. of the common man's belief in the external world, for example, Bricke focuses on Hume's discussion of the roles of constancy and coherence in the formation of the concept of an external object (pp. 8, 76-77), while he pays little attention to Hume's extended discussion of the role of resemblance in explaining the belief in the existence of external objects (T200-210) . Indeed, even though Hume's task in Of Scepticism with Regard to the Senses was to answer the question. What causes induce us to BELIEVE in the existence of body? (T187, my capitals) , and he focuses on the belief in the strict or perfect identity of physical objects (T201-202) , Bricke takes Hume's task to concern judgments of physical-object identity (pp. 77-79). Given his emphasis on judgments of identity and his enumeration of Hume's senses of "imperfect" numerical identity (p. 78), Bricke seems to be concerned with truth-conditions for judgments of (imperfect) physical-object identity. But there is little reason to believe that Hume was attempting to specify truth-conditions rather than construct a theory of mind. Indeed, Hume's references to such "artifices" as the supposition of a common end or a sympathy of parts in judgments of (imperfect) numerical identity (T257) suggests that physical-object identity is more a matter of subjective construction than of objective fact. On the other hand, within the context of an explanation of the belief in the perfect numerical identity of material objects (and persons) , Hume's "handling of questions about relative identity" (p. 79) can reasonably be seen as setting out the fact to be explained , viz. , how the mind naturally conflates imperfect numerical and specific identity with perfect numerical identity. Although he pays scant attention to Hume's explanation of the ancient philosophers' (and everyone else's) belief in material substance, i .e. the belief that material objects are simple and perfectly identical through time (T219-221) , in his discussion of personal identity Bricke 84. initially seems to acknowledge that Hume was engaged in an explanatory program. Bricke claims that "Hume is concerned to explain the plain man's conception Jof personal identity ]" (p. 81), and unlike many commentators on Hume's discussion of personal identity, Bricke at least acknowledges that Hume was concerned with the question...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-9921
Print ISSN
0319-7336
Pages
pp. 82-88
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-26
Open Access
No
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