Note: This seminar happened already!
Hume on Life and Mind
4:30 p.m. 23 February 2006
The purpose of this talk is two-fold: I will outline some of the key concepts of constructivist thought, and at the same time use those concepts to interpret some important aspects of Hume’s work. I will begin by revisiting Hume’s famous skeptical claims with regard to our natural attitude (i.e. our belief in causality, an external objective world, and self), and how these claims contrast with mainstream objectivist epistemology and its correspondence theory of truth.
If this skepticism is all there was to Hume’s or constructivist epistemology it could rightly be called self-defeating, however, and fortunately for us, our natural beliefs while not based on reason are nevertheless grounded in what Hume calls human nature. I will thus briefly analyze the relationship between human nature and contemporary biology of cognition. In addition, I will outline some more pragmatic replacements for the objectivist correspondence theory and propose that we should replace the notion of truth with that of viability.
Finally, the concepts which have been developed will be applied to interpret Hume’s “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion” which deals with the Argument from Design (an argument still popular in certain parts of the world). The conclusion reached will be unorthodox and, perhaps, far reaching in its implications.
The original e-intentionality page with the abstract and slides can be found here