Reason, habit, and applied mathematics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hume is aware that reason is useful for drawing conclusions about matters of fact: "Mathematics, indeed, are useful in all mechanical operations, and arithmetic in almost every art and profession" (T 2.3.3.2; SBN 413-14). But he offers no account of how relations of ideas direct our judgment concerning matters of fact. This is a pity, because the application of mathematics offers an excellent opportunity to observe the interplay between reason and experience, and thus it provides an interesting perspective on Hume's philosophy. This article aims to turn a handful of Hume's remarks into a Humean account of applied mathematics (§§1-3). The account is interesting on its own, but it reveals also an odd consequence for Hume's philosophy, viz., the existence of a species of probability, in which reason lends force and vivacity to inferences involving matters of fact (§4).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-85
Number of pages29
JournalHume Studies
Volume35
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2009

Fingerprint

Mathematics
Habit
Philosophy
Pity
Art
David Hume
Inference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

Cite this

Reason, habit, and applied mathematics. / Sherry, David M.

In: Hume Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1-2, 2009, p. 57-85.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sherry, DM 2009, 'Reason, habit, and applied mathematics', Hume Studies, vol. 35, no. 1-2, pp. 57-85.
Sherry, David M. / Reason, habit, and applied mathematics. In: Hume Studies. 2009 ; Vol. 35, No. 1-2. pp. 57-85.
@article{564f1cc4aa0e4f07a7f270c51b2b0da2,
title = "Reason, habit, and applied mathematics",
abstract = "Hume is aware that reason is useful for drawing conclusions about matters of fact: {"}Mathematics, indeed, are useful in all mechanical operations, and arithmetic in almost every art and profession{"} (T 2.3.3.2; SBN 413-14). But he offers no account of how relations of ideas direct our judgment concerning matters of fact. This is a pity, because the application of mathematics offers an excellent opportunity to observe the interplay between reason and experience, and thus it provides an interesting perspective on Hume's philosophy. This article aims to turn a handful of Hume's remarks into a Humean account of applied mathematics (§§1-3). The account is interesting on its own, but it reveals also an odd consequence for Hume's philosophy, viz., the existence of a species of probability, in which reason lends force and vivacity to inferences involving matters of fact (§4).",
author = "Sherry, {David M}",
year = "2009",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "35",
pages = "57--85",
journal = "Hume Studies",
issn = "0319-7336",
publisher = "The Hume Society, Azusa Pacific University",
number = "1-2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Reason, habit, and applied mathematics

AU - Sherry, David M

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - Hume is aware that reason is useful for drawing conclusions about matters of fact: "Mathematics, indeed, are useful in all mechanical operations, and arithmetic in almost every art and profession" (T 2.3.3.2; SBN 413-14). But he offers no account of how relations of ideas direct our judgment concerning matters of fact. This is a pity, because the application of mathematics offers an excellent opportunity to observe the interplay between reason and experience, and thus it provides an interesting perspective on Hume's philosophy. This article aims to turn a handful of Hume's remarks into a Humean account of applied mathematics (§§1-3). The account is interesting on its own, but it reveals also an odd consequence for Hume's philosophy, viz., the existence of a species of probability, in which reason lends force and vivacity to inferences involving matters of fact (§4).

AB - Hume is aware that reason is useful for drawing conclusions about matters of fact: "Mathematics, indeed, are useful in all mechanical operations, and arithmetic in almost every art and profession" (T 2.3.3.2; SBN 413-14). But he offers no account of how relations of ideas direct our judgment concerning matters of fact. This is a pity, because the application of mathematics offers an excellent opportunity to observe the interplay between reason and experience, and thus it provides an interesting perspective on Hume's philosophy. This article aims to turn a handful of Hume's remarks into a Humean account of applied mathematics (§§1-3). The account is interesting on its own, but it reveals also an odd consequence for Hume's philosophy, viz., the existence of a species of probability, in which reason lends force and vivacity to inferences involving matters of fact (§4).

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84875313043&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84875313043&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 35

SP - 57

EP - 85

JO - Hume Studies

JF - Hume Studies

SN - 0319-7336

IS - 1-2

ER -