Revisionism gone awry: Since when hasn’t Hume been a sceptic?

Adam Andreotta, Michael Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we argue that revisionary theories about the nature and extent of Hume’s scepticism are mistaken. We claim that the source of Hume’s pervasive scepticism is his empiricism. As earlier readings of Hume’s Treatise claim, Hume was a sceptic – and a radical one. Our position faces one enormous problem. How is it possible to square Hume’s claims about normative reasoning with his radical scepticism? Despite the fact that Hume thinks that causal (inductive) reasoning is irrational, he explicitly claims that one can and should make normative claims about beliefs being ‘reasonable’. We show that even though Hume thinks that our causal (inductive) beliefs are rationally unjustified, there is nonetheless a ‘relative’ sense of justification available to Hume and that he relies on this ‘relative’ sense in those places where he makes normative claims about what we ought to believe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-135
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Scottish Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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