Spring 2021 Colloquium Series - 5 February
Sam Rickless, UCSD :: Hume's Recantation: The 'Real' Story
Friday, Feb 5 2021
Abstract: In A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume tries to explain how we all (mistakenly) come to believe in the diachronic identity and simplicity of the self. In an Appendix to the Treatise published almost two years after the publication of the chapter on personal identity, Hume recants: "But upon a more strict review of the section concerning personal identity, I find myself involv'd in such a labyrinth, that, I must confess, I neither know how to correct my former opinions, nor how to render them consistent." What, exactly, was Hume's difficulty? There are (at least) forty-one interpretations of Hume's recantation in the secondary literature. I am going to propose and defend Interpretation #42, the 'real' story, and thereby solve one of the greatest conundrums in the history of European philosophy.