[SydPhil] Michael Duncan: Hume's Dictum

Kristie Miller kristie_miller at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 4 15:33:34 AEST 2015

Hi all,

The next current projects seminar (Thursday 10th) at 3.00 will be Michael Duncan:

Hume’s Dictum and the Notion of Logical Entailment

In A Treatise of Human Nature David Hume says, “There is no object, which implies the existence of any other if we consider these objects in themselves, and never look beyond the ideas which we form of them” (Book I, Part III, Section VI). This is known as Hume’s Dictum, and is often glossed as the claim that there are no metaphysically necessary connections between distinct (intrinsically typed) objects. It has been argued (by e.g., Daniel Stoljar and Jessica Wilson) that, taken at face value, Hume’s Dictum is false; for there appear to be clear counterexamples to it. One such counterexample is a composite object and its proper parts. That a chair with certain properties exists, for instance, seems to entail that certain other objects (some chair legs, perhaps) exist. However, I will argue that this is a case in which appearances are misleading: there are, and can be, no necessary connections between distinct objects. More specifically, I will argue that Hume’s Dictum is a conceptual truth, and that we therefore need to rethink the supposed counterexamples. My argument for this conclusion will rest on the claim that logical entailment should be understood in terms of containment.

See you all there.

Associate Professor Kristie Miller
Senior ARC Research Fellow
Joint Director, the Centre for Time
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry and
The Centre for Time
The University of Sydney
Sydney Australia
Room 407, A 14

kmiller at usyd.edu.au
kristie_miller at yahoo.com
Ph: +612 9036 9663

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