Seminar on HumeAutumn 1998

Short Paper Assignments

1. Due Monday, August 31, 1998, 5 p.m.
Hume explains "impressions of reflexion" in the single paragraph constituting section I,1,ii of the Treatise. Explain what Hume means by "impressions of reflexion." Be sure to give examples and explain how these differ both from impressions of sensation and from ideas. Carefully explain each thing Hume says about these from the sentence starting "The second is derived ..." through the sentence "And as the impressions ..."

2. Due Tuesday, September 8, 1998, 9 a.m.
In Treatise I, 3, iii Hume says of the proposition "Whatever has a beginning has also a cause of existence," that it is "neither intuitively nor demonstrably certain." In paragraph 3 of that section he offers a "proof" of this claim. Clearly spell out this proof, making the premises clear and the relationship between the premises and the conclusion clear. In paragraph 8 of the same section Hume says "Every effect necessarily pre-supposes a cause." Does this conflict with his rejection of the earlier proposition? Why or why not? Earlier (I, 3, 2, paragraph 2) Hume speaks of concluding that there is a "secret cause" for something. Does this conflict with rejection of the proposition? Why or why not?

3. Due Monday, September 14, 1998, 5 p.m.
In Enquiry IV part II paragraphs 5-9 Hume appears to argue that our conclusions from experience of cause and effect are "not founded on reasoning" (quote from paragraph 2). Carefully explain his argument, being sure to clarify its structure and moves.

4. Due Monday, September 21, 1998, 5 p.m.
Explain and explore Hume's account of belief in the Treatise. What isbelief, according to Hume? What reasons does Hume for his view? How does Hume distinguish belief from other things? Is the account reasonable? Why or why not? Critically discuss.

5. Due Monday, September 28, 1998, 5 p.m.
What, according to Hume, is the mind, or one's self? (See T I, 4, vi and related pieces in the "Appendix.") Explain the various statements Hume makes in describing the mind. What is Hume claiming the mind is not? Why? Critically discuss his theory.

6. Due Monday, October 5, 1998, 5 p.m.
A "double" assignment! Do either (A) or (B):

A: Hume talks about "double existence" in Book I of the Treatise. What does he mean by this? "Double existence" of what? Explain several of the remarks he makes about "double existence".

B: Hume talks about "double relation" in Book II of the Treatise. What does he mean by this? "Double relation" of what? Explain several of the remarks he makes about "double relation".


7. Due Monday, October 12, 1998, 5 p.m.
In TreatiseII, 3, iii Hume explores the issue of whether passions can be unreasonable. Can passions be unreasonable according to Hume? Why or why not? Explain and critically discuss.

8. Due Monday, October 19, 1998, 5 p.m.
In Treatise III, 1, i Hume offers several arguments for the conclusion that reason is not the source of morality. Ignoring (for now) the famous last paragraph of this section, carefully state, explain, and critique one of his arguments for this conclusion.

9. Due Monday, October 26, 1998, 5 p.m.
In "Of Suicide" Hume Hume argues that "suicide is no transgression of our duty to God." Carefully explain his argument(s) in support of this claim. Offer some critique of his argumentation to this point. How might Hume reply to your critique? Would that reply be adequate? Why or why not?

10. Due Monday, November 2, 1998, 5 p.m.
Carefully explicate Demea's argument for the existence of God in paragraph 3 of Part IX of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Explicate one of the objections raised by one of the other characters in the dialogue. Critically discuss.

11. Due Monday, November 9, 1998, 5 p.m.
Carefully explicate Cleanthes's argument for the existence of God in paragraph 5 of Part II of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Explicate one of the objections raised by one of the other characters in the dialogue. Critically discuss.

12. Due Monday, November 16, 1998, 5 p.m.
Near the end of Part X of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Philo switches from one kind of problem that evil presents for theists such as Cleanthes to another problem. The switch occurs in the second to last paragraph of that section (starting "But I will be content to retire still from this retrenchment ...") and continues through the next section. You assignment, should you wish to accept it, is to explain this revised problem of evil and how it differs from the problem stated earlier in the section (up through the previous paragraph). Then critically discuss.

13. Due Monday, November 23, 1998, 5 p.m.
Offer helpful critical comments on either Don's or Louis's presentation. The comments should be on the substance (i.e. the views presented) of the presentation. Be sure you indicate whose presentation you are commenting on. Please give a copy of your comments to the presenter (at the Tuesday class would be sufficient) as well as submitting them to the instructor.

14. Due Monday, November 30, 1998, 5 p.m.
Offer helpful critical comments on either Brad's or Denise's presentation. The comments should be on the substance (i.e. the views presented) of the presentation. Be sure you indicate whose presentation you are commenting on. Please give a copy of your comments to the presenter (at the Tuesday class would be sufficient) as well as submitting them to the instructor.

15. Due Monday, December 7, 1998, 5 p.m.
Offer helpful critical comments on either Phillip's or Chase's presentation. The comments should be on the substance (i.e. the views presented) of the presentation. Be sure you indicate whose presentation you are commenting on. Please give a copy of your comments to the presenter (at the Tuesday class would be sufficient) as well as submitting them to the instructor.

16. Due Monday, December 14, 1998, 5 p.m.
Offer helpful critical comments on either Meg's or Stephen's or Basil's presentation. The comments should be on the substance (i.e. the views presented) of the presentation. Be sure you indicate whose presentation you are commenting on. Please give a copy of your comments to the presenter as well as submitting them to the instructor.


Richard Lee, rlee@comp.uark.edu, last modified: 8 December 1998