Philosophy 1 Lecture Day 18
• Hume criticizes the method of doubt that was advocated by Descartes
• He characterizes it as recommending before all study and philosophy a universal doubt
which must extend to the veracity of our faculties.
• The doubt about our faculties could be overcome by:
• But there is no such self -evident original principle.
• Hume concludes that not only is Cartesian antecedent doubt impossible to attain but it
would by its very nature be incurable if it could be attained.
• It does have value if understood moderately as promoting strict standards of
• Hume cautions against excessive (Pyrrhonian) skepticism on the grounds that it cannot be
sustained in practical life and nothing useful comes from it.
• He advocates instead a more moderate (academic) skepticism in which we restrain our
reasoning to relations od ideas and to matters of fact that are supported by experience.
Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
• The recollection of David Hume awoke him from his dogmatic slumber
• Kant set out to place metaphysics on a new footing by subjecting the use of pure
reason to a scathing critique.
• Three fundamental interests of human beings:
1. Does God exist?
2. Am I free in my actions?
3. Will I survive my death?
• 3 branches of metaphysics to answer the questions are:
• An acceptable metaphysical system must be based on the a priori use of reason
• Theoretically, it can be known a priori what is possible and what is actual (though
perhaps only by God and not by humans)
• Kant and Hume agree that the principle of sufficient reason (PSR) can’t be justified a
priori. • If that is correct then PSR is fundamental to any metaphysical system and if the PSR is