Projectionism in Hume's theoretical philosophy.

Title: Projectionism in Hume's theoretical philosophy.
Authors: Zakatistovs, Atis.
Date: 2001
Abstract: In this thesis I present a reading of Hume's projectionism. Hume took very seriously our predicament of being in a position of making judgments about the external world, and about other minds, solely on the basis of our own beliefs. By "Hume's projectionism" I mean his answer to this predicament, namely, that our minds construct beliefs unaided by mind-independent events; that these beliefs are then projected upon the world; and that for us the world literally becomes the bearer of our notions. "Hume's projectionism" thus is an examination of the external world, or rather what we believe it to be, through the analysis of conceptual constructs that for us constitute its very nature. In my interpretation I place considerable emphasis upon the fact that Hume identifies three essentially different sets of conceptual tools that result in three theoretical standpoints---that of common sense, the theory of the false philosophy, and that of the true philosophy. Human beings are capable of constructing three incompatible and independent sets of beliefs. Hume believes that we have no independent and objective grounds that would warrant the evaluation of our projections. Consequently, our only hope to establish a normative evaluation of our beliefs lies in the analysis of the conceptual tools by which each of these projections is constructed. I develop three separate arguments to support my reading. First, I argue that Hume's arguments implicitly rely on his theory of theories, which I set out in chapter 2. This chapter considers the conceptual tools that Hume can use in normative evaluations of our beliefs. Secondly, in chapter 3 I seek to show that Hume should best be seen as attempting to reconcile the dispute between Locke's scientific realism and Berkeley's instrumentalism. By showing the historical roots of Hume's projectionism I hope to undermine any charge that my reading of Hume is anachronistic. Thirdly, in chapter 4 I examine Hume's account of probability, where I seek to illustrate Hume's attempt to assess the changes in philosophical problems that result from his considered belief that absolute truth and certainty are unattainable. In my thesis I hope to establish that Hume's philosophy is projectionism through and through. This is a highly controversial interpretation. By definition, if Hume is a projectionist, then his philosophical position cannot be defined solely as empiricism, or skepticism, or common-sense realism. I believe that if we focus upon Hume's implicit philosophical methodology, then we have no choice but to consider seriously the issue about the variety of his arguments. We then have to come to understand how it is possible for Hume to be an empiricist, a sceptic, and a realist---all at the same time? I argue that we can best understand this only if we view Hume's system as projectionism.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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