Hume's Appendix Problem and Associative Connections in the Treatise and Enquiry

Hume Studies 44 (1):23-50 (2018)
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Given the difficulty of characterizing the quandary introduced in Hume’s Appendix to the Treatise, coupled with the alleged “underdetermination” of the text, it is striking how few commentators have considered whether Hume addresses and/or redresses the problem after 1740—in the first Enquiry, for example. This is not only unfortunate, but ironic; for, in the Appendix, Hume mentions that more mature reasonings may reconcile whatever contradiction(s) he has in mind. I argue that Hume’s 1746 letter to Lord Kames foreshadows a subtle, but significant, shift in Hume’s reasonings regarding the relevance of “real connexions”; that the Enquiry of 1748 provides evidence for this shift; and that this shift obviates Hume’s second thoughts by reconciling the contradiction that he had in mind. In short, Hume’s letter to Kames and Enquiry supply the retrodictive keys to a systematically satisfactory account.

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Daniel R. Siakel
University of California, Irvine


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