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date: 23 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Hume takes his “naturalistic” study of human nature to show that certain general “principles of the imagination” can explain how human beings come to think, feel, believe, and act in all the ways they do independently of the truth or reasonableness of those responses. This appears to leave the reflective philosopher with no reason for assenting to what he has discovered he cannot help believing anyway. Relief from this unacceptably extreme skepticism is found in acknowledging and acquiescing in those forces of “nature” that inevitably overcome the apparent dictates of “reason” and return the philosopher to the responses and beliefs of everyday life. Living in full recognition of these forces and limitations is what Hume means by the “mitigated scepticism” he accepts.

Keywords: fiction, mitigated scepticism, naturalism, nature, scepticism

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