Is Hume a Perspectivalist?

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Hume notoriously pursues a constructive science of human nature in the Treatise while raising serious skeptical doubts about that project and leaving them apparently unanswered. On the perspectivalist reading, Hume endorses multiple incommensurable epistemic perspectives in the Treatise. This reading faces two significant objections: that it renders Hume’s epistemology inconsistent (or at least highly incoherent) and that it is ad hoc. In this paper, I propose a perspectivalist account of epistemic justification in the Treatise that addresses, to a significant degree, these concerns. Hume has available to him an account – what I will call epistemic dispositionalism – that is internally consistent, allows for epistemic continuity between perspectives, and is thoroughly grounded in his naturalism.

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Sam Zahn
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo


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