chapter  5
The Inconsolable Sceptic
Pages 8

I will now say more about the different notions of reason appropriate to the different readings of premiss 2, as these notions first make their appearance in Book 1. As we shall see, there are three, rather than two to be considered: reason as giving us access to a metaphysical realm (or as itself a metaphysical entity), demonstrative reasoning and probabilistic reasoning or beliefs about ‘matters of fact’. Hume rejects metaphysical reasoning as unintelligible, while placing demonstrative and probabilistic reasoning in our ‘cogitative’ and ‘sensitive’ natures, respectively (1.4.1:8). Only the former yields knowledge but only probabilistic reasoning and belief are linked to passions and action, their relevance for ‘the conduct of life’ (Abstract 10) being continually stressed.