[SydPhil] USyd Postgrad Work in Progress Talk 5/2/13

Simon Varey simonvarey at gmail.com
Tue Jul 30 16:53:30 AEST 2013

Here are the details for the first USyd Postgrad Work in Progress talk for
the semester.

Speaker: Gabriel Watts

When David Hume sent a copy of his yet-to-be-published *Treatise* (1739-40)
to his friend Michael Ramsey he advised that Ramsey read Nicolas
Malebranche’s *The Search After Truth* (1674-5) in order to better
understand the "metaphysical" parts. Hume’s philosophical debts to
Malebranche are obvious to anyone who looks, yet there has been little
investigation into the nature of Hume’s pre-*Treatise* engagement with
Malebranche. In this talk I examine a passage from Hume’s 1734 ‘Letter to a
Physician’ in which Hume compares the “rapturous admiration” of “French
Mystics” to the “enthusiasm” accompanying his “profound reflections”. I
explore Malebranche’s close connection to French Mysticism and in
particular show how Malebranche’s philosophy both encourages a
philosophical form of religious abandonment while also providing a
naturalistic critique of the psychology of enthusiasm. Against this
background, Hume’s claim that he was unable to sincerely enter this
sentiment provides a key insight into his early engagement with both
Malebranche and religious thought generally.

Time: 4:30pm, Mon Aug 5
Location: Philosophy Common Room, Main Quad, University of Sydney
Hope to see you all there,
Simon Varey
Postgraduate Colloquium Co-ordinator
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