Hume's Science of Human Nature : Scientific Realism, Reason, and Substantial Explanation book cover
1st Edition

Hume's Science of Human Nature
Scientific Realism, Reason, and Substantial Explanation

ISBN 9780367891718
Published December 17, 2019 by Routledge
278 Pages

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Book Description

Hume’s Science of Human Nature is an investigation of the philosophical commitments underlying Hume's methodology in pursuing what he calls ‘the science of human nature’. It argues that Hume understands scientific explanation as aiming at explaining the inductively-established universal regularities discovered in experience via an appeal to the nature of the substance underlying manifest phenomena. For years, scholars have taken Hume to employ a deliberately shallow and demonstrably untenable notion of scientific explanation. By contrast, Hume’s Science of Human Nature sets out to update our understanding of Hume’s methodology by using a more sophisticated picture of science as a model.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Two Case Studies: The Impression-Idea and Simple-Complex Distinctions

Chapter 2: Hume’s Scientific Realism

Chapter 3: The Course of Science: Substance, Language, and Reason

Chapter 4: The Science of Body

Chapter 5: Necessary Connection and Substantial Explanation

Chapter 6: Explanation and Personal Identity in the Appendix

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David Landy is Associate Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University. He is the author of Kant’s Inferentialism: The Case Against Hume (Routledge, 2015).


"Hume’s Science of Human Nature offers, and capably defends, a deeply original way of understanding Hume’s theoretical framework. The interpretation renders Hume’s naturalistic project a much more sophisticated endeavour than typically thought. It is an excellent and welcome addition to the literature."
-Hsueh Qu, National University of Singapore

"Landy does an outstanding job of highlighting the significance of some long-standing debates regarding Hume’s theory of representation by showing how they affect important questions about Hume’s account of scientific explanation and science in general." -Miren Boehm, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee