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DS (Spring 1999)

Directed Studies: Philosophy

Keith DeRose, T,Th, 11:30-12:45

Fellow philosophers,

For tomorrow’s section, please pay special attention to the two paragraphs of Hume on pp. 415-416 that begin with the words “A passion is an original existence…” and “What may first occur…”.  And consider these questions:

-What is it for a belief or judgement to be reasonable/unreasonable?

-Can a passion or a goal be reasonable or unreasonable?

-If so, what could it be for a passion or a goal to be reasonable or unreasonable, other than to be based on a reasonable or unreasonable belief?

-If you have some account of what it is for a passion or belief to be reasonable/unreasonable other than for it to be based on a r/u belief, how does your account of the reasonableness/unreasonableness of a passion or goal compare with your account of what it is for a belief or judgment to be r/u?  Do these two varieties of reasonableness/unreasonableness have anything to do with one another?  If not, do you consider that a problem?

We’ll also discuss Hume’s argument for the conclusion that reason cannot motivate action.


Now, don’t you try an’ move me,
Mama, you’re just gonna lose.

  • topics for second paper

Second Paper Topics

Please write a paper of four to six pages (typed, double-spaced) on
one of the following topics.  Your completed paper is due no later
that 11:00 a.m., Friday, March 5, in your instructor’s mailbox
in the Philosophy Department office (108 Connecticut Hall).

1. Explain one of Berkeley’s arguments for thinking that primary qualities
are just as mind dependent as secondary qualities.  How might Locke
respond?  Is this response successful?

2. What do you think is Hume’s best argument for the thesis that we cannot
derive our idea of power by introspection? How could Berkeley best respond
to this argument? Is this response successful?

3. Explain Hume’s account of causality (i.e. of cause and effect as we
know it).  What role does his theory of ideas and impressions play in
arriving at this account?  Is this problematic?

Wasn’t making any great connection
Wasn’t falling for any intricate scheme
Nothing that would pass inspection
Just thinking of a series of dreams

She talks to all the servants
About man and God and law.
Everybody says
She’s the brains behind pa.
She’s sixty-eight, but she says she’s fifty-four.
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more.

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