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Hume's Reason$
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David Owen

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252602

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199252602.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Hume's Reason

David Owen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In the early modern period, reason was considered to be one of the higher cognitive faculties, and could be considered to function independently of the other cognitive faculties, such as the senses, the imagination, and memory. The faculty psychology of the period centrally involved ideas, rejected scholastic formalism, and was both psychologically descriptive and logically normative. The primary function of reason was to account for inference. Hume's account must be understood against this background, as he uses its vocabulary and shares many of its perspectives. He departs from the tradition in rejecting faculty psychology, at least to the extent of treating reason as an independently functioning faculty. The inferential activities of reason, both demonstrative and probable, are given a distinctively new treatment in terms of the properties of the imagination.

Keywords:   cognition, cognitive faculty, demonstrative, faculty psychology, formalism, Hume, ideas, imagination, inference, memory, normative, probable, reason, senses

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