Humeans are out of this world

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

I defend the following argument in this paper. Premise 1: Laws of nature are intrinsic to the universe. Premise 2: Humeanism maintains that laws of nature are extrinsic to the universe. Conclusion: Humeanism is false. This argument is inspired by Hawthorne’s (Noûs 38(2):351–358, 2004) argument in “Humeans are out of their Minds”. My argument differs from his; Hawthorne focuses on Humean views of causation and how they interact with judgments about consciousness. He thinks Humeans are forced to treat certain mental properties (insofar as they involve causal features) as extrinsic to conscious minds. I do not discuss causation or consciousness here. I focus on Humean accounts of laws. I argue that Humean laws are extrinsic to the entire universe. As such, Humeans are not just out of their minds; they are out of this world. I aim to show that premises 1 and 2 are well-supported and that denying either of them comes at a cost. Nevertheless, some Humeans may prefer to reject 1 or 2 rather than give up Humeanism. Even if the Humean takes one of these routes, the argument above has philosophical import: it shows that Humeanism involves surprising commitments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5897-5916
Number of pages20
JournalSynthese
Volume198
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Intrinsicality
  • Laws of nature
  • Metaphysics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences

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