PHIL 437A:  Study Questions for Week 5 (Oct. 27-29): 

Other Kinds of Skepticism, Especially about Personal Identity




11.  Why does Hume expect us to agree with the following claim:  "[W]e may observe a conjunction or a relation of cause and effect betwixt different perceptions, but can never observe it betwixt perceptions and objects" (T  Do you agree?  Explain.


12.  What is the difference between opinions we form after a calm and profound reflection and those that we embrace by instinct or natural impulse (T.  Which does Hume favor?


13.  What is Hume's remedy to skeptical doubts?


14.  What is Hume's account of the cognitive role of substance?


15.  On Hume's account, could we ever have the idea of a ghost?  Even if we could have the idea of a ghost, could we ever infer the existence of a ghost?


16.  According to Hume, what is the supposed distinction between primary and secondary qualities?  Why does Hume deny that there are any primary qualities?  What is a presupposition of Hume's argument?  Hint:  Consider his argument against primary qualities as a chicken-egg problem.  How might a non-Humean solve this chicken-egg problem?]


17.  What does Hume mean by "a sceptical solution" to his skeptical doubts?


18.  According to Hume, could we have an idea of a self that is the same through time?  Explain.  According to Hume, what is our idea of self?


19.  Why does Hume think we mistakenly believe that objects and the self remain the same through change?  Explain the role of resemblance, common end, and sympathy of parts.


20.  What kind of impression is the idea of the self derived from?  What is the role of memory and mental causation in the development of the idea of personal identity?


21.  Why does Hume think that the question of the materiality or immateriality of the soul is unanswerable?  According to Hume, could we have the idea of ghosts that were imperceptible but that could move physical objects?  Could we have the idea of an immaterial God who created the universe?


22.  How does Hume's Appendix modify his account of personal identity?  What do you think is the inconsistency that he refers to in his account of the self?  Explain.


23.  What does Hume mean by the following:  "Very refin'd reflections have little or no influence upon us; and yet we do not, and cannot establish it for a rule, that they ought not have any influence; which implies a manifest contradiction"(T  What is the contradiction? 


24.  What is the solution to Hume's melancholy?


25.  What is the advantage of philosophy over superstition?


26.  What does Hume mean by a true skeptic?  How does a true skeptic differ from a despairing skeptic?


27.  Fogelin distinguishes two ways that Hume reaches skeptical results:  an argumentative strategy and a genetic strategy.  Explain the difference. 


28.  According to Fogelin, what is Hume's distinction between relations of ideas and matters of fact?