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Seminar Paper, 2018
17 Pages, Grade: 9.9
What assures us of ‘existences and objects we do not see or feel’? In other words, what leads us to form beliefs about unobserved matters of fact: that the sun will rise tomorrow, that Africa still exists, that the Normans won the Battle of Hastings? What is the correct account of causation? Since this ancient epoch, skepticism has taken a central,- in fact the driving seat- in epistemology with attitude among philosophers, particularly epistemologists, apparently tending to regard a skeptic as a foe rather than a friend, a threat rather than a tool, and a deconstructionist rather than a builder. Ironically, the troubling skepticism forms the foundation of all epistemological enterprise. With the historical development of epistemology, one could possibly establish a self-contradiction any attempt deny the skeptic position of Protagoras- that there are many events that hinder and deny us of an indubitable, sure and stable knowledge.
The ancient period prepared the ground for inquiry, but the medieval (dark) age almost collapsed this foundation with recourse to faith and subjection of reason to the dogmatism of the instrument of faith. However, there was resurgence in the modern era of philosophical reflection, with several attempts to restore reason back to its rightful place in philosophy. One of those philosophers who attempted to rescue epistemology from the unphilosophical and dogmatic theologism was David Hume. Of course, the methodic doubt scepticism of Rene Descartes, French rationalist, was pivotal to all other discussions in the modern period. However, Hume’s resurgent effort was to see that inquiry is once again made into the nature of things, including claims about and of God, human life, scientific processes and procedures, causation, and inductive reasoning. Hume’s effort was to mitigate skepticism and forge a veritable mid-point and alliance between what can be known and what cannot be said to be known. Well, his thought on the endorsement of a priori propositions and some part of a posteriori propositions and rejection of some, such as causation and inductive reasoning has earned him such appellation as a ‘thorough going skeptic and empiricist.’ Our concern in the paper is to take a second but critical investigation into Hume’s idea of causation vis-à-vis the appellation. The paper attempts to literally play the devil’s advocate to examine if such appellation could pass for Hume.
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