"Skepticism Meets Dogmatism: Evidence and the Correction of Doubts in Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding”
In the final section of An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume writes that there are skeptical “objections” that we “cannot remove,” but also that the “excessive” skeptical doubts they produce can be “in some measure, corrected by common sense and reflection.” Appealing chiefly to passages from the Enquiry, I seek to explain (i) Hume’s theory of what he calls "evidence" in relation to what is now sometimes called "dogmatism," and (ii) the distinctive character of the various skeptical objections he surveys. With these explanations as background, I draw on Hume’s account of “correction” as elaborated primarily in his Treatise to show both how (on his view) the skeptical objections function to generate doubts and how common sense and reflection operate together to correct (and not just weaken) these doubts, even while we acknowledge their force.
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