Kant and the Humean Problem Analytical Essay by Shaad

Kant and the Humean Problem
An examination of Immanuel Kant's claim to the "complete solution of the Humean problem".
# 129173 | 1,162 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2009 | BD
Published by on Sep 07, 2010 in Philosophy (Epistemology) , Philosophy (History - 18th Century)

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This paper examines Immanuel Kant's claim to have solved the problem of "Humean supervenience". The paper argues that Kant misunderstands Hume and that the problem does not exist to begin with. The paper goes on to elaborate on Kant's epistemology, presenting the subtleties that he introduces over and above Hume. It continues to argue that, even though Hume does not achieve the clarity and sophistication of Kant, the two epistemologies are essentially the same.

From the Paper:

''Through his critique of pure reason Kant claims to fulfill the mission of Hume to outline the principles of human understanding. He calls it the ''complete solution of the Humean problem'' (Kant & Hatfield 64). There is no doubt that Kant clarifies the solution provided by Hume, so that the ''Humean problem'' should be called a lack of clarity rather than a problem. The mistake stems from the issue of Humean supervenience. Hume is supposed to have derived all understanding from experience, and Kant wants to show that there is a metaphysical makeup of experience that precedes it. This essay demonstrates that Kant misunderstands Hume in this respect. Hume also posits a metaphysical make up of experience, although he does not reach the thorough going analysis of Kant.
''Hume's stress was on the fact that all understanding begins from experience, and for Kant this is problematic. He intercedes with the claim that not all understanding derives from experience, but that the mind possesses a priori faculties of understanding which also contribute. But it is a mistake to suppose that Hume denies such faculties.''

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Govier, Trudy. Socrates' children: thinking and knowing in the Western tradition. Broadview Press, 1997.
  • Kant, Immanuel. Prolegomena to any future metaphysics. Ed. Gary Carl Hatfield. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • Stroud, Barry. Hume. Routledge, 1981.
  • Wood, Allen W. Kant. Wiley-Blackwell, 2005.

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