1st Edition

Hume and Contemporary Epistemology

Edited By Scott Stapleford, Verena Wagner Copyright 2025
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    This is the first edited collection dedicated to demonstrating Hume’s relevance to contemporary debates in epistemology. It features original essays by Hume scholars and epistemologists that address a wide range of important questions, including:

    What does a Humean conception of knowledge look like?

    • How do Hume’s understanding of belief and suspension of judgement bear on current debates about doxastic attitudes?
    • Is there a Humean way of uniting reasons in the epistemic and practical domains?
    • What is the proper role of reason at the foundations of ethics and epistemology from a Humean point of view?
    • What contribution might an examination of Humean scepticism make to understanding of current sceptical hypotheses?
    • Is Hume a hinge epistemologist?
    • Does naturalized epistemology trace back to Hume?
    • Does Hume have an ethics of belief?
    • What can Hume contribute to virtue and vice epistemology?

    Some chapters try to bring historically accurate interpretations of Hume’s ideas into contact with current issues while others will take ideas merely suggested by Hume and demonstrate their philosophical usefulness. Together, they demonstrate Hume’s enduring relevance for debates about knowledge, belief, inquiry and suspension, reasons, modal knowledge, scepticism, hinge epistemology, naturalized epistemology, the ethics of belief and moral epistemology, virtue and vice epistemology, and the epistemology of testimony.

    Hume and Contemporary Epistemology will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working on Hume, epistemology, and history of philosophy.

    Introductory Note Scott Stapleford and Verena Wagner

    Part I: Knowledge

    1. A Humean–Practicalist Conception of Knowing Stephen Hetherington

    2. Why Hume’s Notion of Demonstration Must Reduce to Probability: A Prelude to Quine Stefanie Rocknak

    Part II: Doxastic Attitudes

    3. Hume on Pyrrhonian Scepticism and Suspension of Judgement Verena Wagner and Scott Stapleford

    Part III: Reason and Reasons

    4. The Priority of Passive Reasoning Jonathan Cottrell

    5. In Search of Hume’s Anti-Rationalism Karl Schafer

    6. Hume and the Unity of Reasons Eva Schmidt

    Part IV: Scepticism

    7. Signs, Wonders and Hume: From Humean Scepticism about Miracles and Reason to Contemporary Sceptical Hypotheses and Back Again Kevin Meeker

    8. Avoiding the Unexpected Circuit: Humean Improvements on Standard “Cartesian” Skepticism Yuval Avnur

    Part V: Hinge Epistemology

    9. Humean Skepticism and Entitlement Santiago Echeverri

    10. Hume and Wittgenstein on Naturalism and Scepticism Duncan Pritchard

    Part VI: Naturalized Epistemology

    11. The Advancement of Naturalized Epistemology: Reflections on Hume, Quine and Anderson Angela M. Coventry

    Part VII: Modal Epistemology

    12. Conceivability as the Standard of Metaphysical Possibility Miren Boehm

    Part VIII: Moral Epistemology

    13. Hume, Deontological Epistemology, and an Ethics of Belief Qu Hsueh

    14. Natural and Artificial Epistemic Virtues Sarah Wright

    15. Humean Vice Epistemology: The Case of Prejudice Mark Collier

    Part IX: The Epistemology of Testimony

    16. Hume and the Epistemology of Testimony Dan O’Brien


    Scott Stapleford is Professor of Philosophy at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, Canada. His publications for Routledge include: Logic Works: A Rigorous Introduction to Formal Logic (with Lorne Falkenstein and Molly Kao, 2022), Hume’s Enquiry: Expanded and Explained (with Tyron Goldschmidt, 2021), Berkeley’s Principles: Expanded and Explained (with Tyron Goldschmidt, 2016), and three edited collections: Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles (with Kevin McCain and Matthias Steup, 2023) Epistemic Dilemmas: New Arguments, New Angles (with Kevin McCain and Matthias Steup, 2021), and Epistemic Duties: New Arguments, New Angles (with Kevin McCain, 2020).

    Verena Wagner is Professor of Philosophy of Mind at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. She works at the intersection of philosophy of mind and epistemology, focusing on the nature of mental states and attitudes involved in the process of making up one’s mind, particularly the suspension of judgment. Her publications include Agnosticism as Settled Indecision (2022, Philosophical Studies), and two articles in Routledge collections: Epistemic dilemma and epistemic Conflict (2021) and Zetetic seemings and their role in inquiry (2023). She is co-editor of the Routledge collection Suspension in Epistemology and Beyond (with Alexandra Zinke, 2024).