Hume's Skeptical Philosophy and the Moderation of Pride

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (6):621–36 (2024)
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Hume describes skeptical philosophy as having a variety of desirable effects. It can counteract dogmatism, produce just reasoning, and promote social cohesion. When discussing how skepticism may achieve these effects, Hume typically appeals to its effects on pride. I explain how, for Hume, skeptical philosophy acts on pride and how acting on pride produces the desirable effects. Understanding these mechanisms, I argue, sheds light on how, why, when, and for whom skeptical philosophy can be useful. It also illuminates the value of skeptical philosophy for a humanistic education, giving us a reason to include Hume in curricula.

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Charles Goldhaber
Haverford College


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