Principles of Interpretation
This chapter introduces the principles that guide the reading of Hume in this volume. (1) The Cover Principle: Hume is providing a cognitive science, not metaphysics, epistemology, or ethics. (2) The Skeptical Inversion Principle: Hume is a Pyrrhonian skeptic, and takes our practices to have no ground but custom. (3) The Centrality of Custom Principle: custom is the key to Hume’s account of normativity and of our epistemic and moral practices, and the term denotes both individual habit and social convention. (4) The nominalist Pseudo-idea Principle: Hume often takes us not to have the ideas we think we have, but rather to confuse customs for using words with ideas. (5) The Principle of the Uniformity of Method: Hume uses a consistent philosophical method throughout the Treatise.
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