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Grant number like: FT-51390-03

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William Morris
Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL 61701-1773)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2003 – 7/31/2003

Naturalism and Normativity in Hume's Epistemology

Scholars reject the traditional view that Hume was a purely negative sceptic, but disagree about the nature of his positive views in epistemology. A central controversy concerns the relation between the naturalistic and normative components of his system. Hume’s method is descriptive; how can it have a prescriptive or evaluative component? I settle this issue by providing an original account of Hume’s views on belief-formation and -improvement, which shows that Hume’s theory of cognition is both genuinely naturalistic and demonstrably normative. My reading is important for Hume scholarship, relevant to contemporary naturalized epistemology, and of interest to anyone who wants to understand why Hume’s views are still worth studying.