Date(s) - Saturday, April 22, 2017
10:30 am - 12:45 pm
Lit and Phil
‘David Hume: A Question of Belief’
When: Saturday 9 December 2017, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm
Where: The Literary & Philosophical Society (Lit & Phil), Lecture Room, 23 Westgate Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE.
Whilst in general our meetings will be held at the Lit & Phil (with a few exceptions), the room itself within the building will switch between the Loftus Room, the Lecture Room, and occasionally, the Reference (aka Silence) Room.
An introduction to the theme for the session is given at the start of the meeting; it may be difficult to participate in the discussion without that context. Please aim to arrive shortly before the start time, so that we can begin the session promptly.
In this third session on the philosophy of David Hume we will develop his argument that it is habit based on experience, not a law of cause and effect, that leads to our belief that the physical world generally works in a reliable, predictable way. But why do we believe some things and not others? We will also discuss why Hume thinks – as described in the first session of this series – that knowledge based on experience is actually superior to knowledge based on reason.
Reading for the session
The following resources available on the internet may prove useful when preparing for the session:
There’s a very readable summary and commentary on Hume in Sparknotes. The relevant section of Hume work is in Part 11 of Section V, of An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, which is dealt with here: http://www.sparknotes.com/phil
The Stanford Encyclopedia entry is here; the relevant section is 5.3 Belief: https://plato.stanford.edu/ent
A contribution of £2 is requested, for those attendees who can afford it, to cover the room hire costs.
Philosophical Explorations aims to apply philosophical thought and method to any subject matter or topic of concern to society or observant individuals within it. The idea is to approach any aspect of life, wearing a philosophical hat as it were, that is applying a measure of argumentation and justification, adhering to reason and logical precision, making use of cumulative philosophical thinking over the ages, broadening each subject to its full implications above and beyond particularities and contingencies, seeking that which underpins opinion by unravelling undisclosed basic assumptions and formulating an underlying existential position in life. Above all, Philosophical Explorations invites us to subject our stand to a dialogue with others, by opening up a space in the mind as a precondition of careful and considerate listening, an ongoing examination of our opinion in relation to that of others, a willingness and readiness to allow one’s own stand to incorporate, indeed be transformed, by the growing wisdom of the group in the process of philosophical exchange. What is therefore desirable in this group is a philosophical attitude and an openness of mind. The most commonly accepted definition of philosophy is that of “thinking about thinking”, that is a double move at the outset, where all reflections are simultaneously subjected to meta-reflections. This habit of mind, whilst not intuitive or normative in society, is at the very core and an indispensable attribute of Philosophical Explorations. Everyone is welcome to join in.