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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

For Hume, one task of logic is “to explain the principles and operations of our reasoning faculties”; this chapter is a study of his logic of inductive reasoning, as presented in Book I of his Treatise and in the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Like other early modern logics—especially those composed, as Hume’s was, under the influence of Locke—Hume’s logic is descriptive, explanatory, and normative. It also aspires to be revelatory. It is descriptive in documenting how our reasoning actually proceeds, explanatory in telling us why it so proceeds, normative in telling us how it should proceed, and revelatory in using those findings to arrive at larger truths about human nature and human life. Hume formulates rules of inductive reasoning and ranks inductive arguments as better and worse. He also advocates the reform of intellectual disciplines. Yet his logic, it is argued, is at the same time deeply skeptical.

Keywords: Hume, induction, skepticism, logic, reasoning, probability, cause and effect, Locke

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