Hume, Curiosity, and the Justification of Scientific Endeavor

A considerable portion of the philosophy of David Hume can be interpreted as an attempt to formulate a proper philosophical account of the scientific endeavor itself. This certainly is a major concern for Hume; much of his discussion of causation, for instance, seems to be an attempt to give an adequate empiricist accounts of the causal reasoning underlying the Newtonian physics of his day. Another important area of Hume’s philosophy that shows this concern is his account of curiosity. Considerably less work has been done on this than has been done on Hume’s account of causation; but, as Fred Wilson has shown, Hume’s account of curiosity plays an extraordinary role both in his understanding of the scientific endeavor and in his understanding of his own philosophical work.

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About Brandon Watson

Brandon Watson has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. He specializes in early modern philosophy, with particular focus on Hume and his philosophical context. He also has a longstanding interest in Whewell and his contemporaries and in Duhem.
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