chapter  2
17 Pages

Belief, scepticism and the subversion of reason

It is vital to recall here that we only in the first place turned to Book 1 in the hope of finding distinctions there between types or notions of reason which would allow us to replace, with talk of a systematic ambiguity across its different formulations, the contradictions inherent in the practicality argument. Certainly these developments of Book 3 suggest that Hume has either lost or, perhaps better, deliberately loosened, without actually relinquishing, his grip on the distinctions of Book 1. Why he should have done so, and done so in that irresolute way which allows them to creep back, constantly breaking through the latterly imposed unitariness, is the question to which we finally turn. In answer we point to Hume’s quandary, already apparent in Book 1, about belief, and also to the extraordinarily dynamic nature of the scepticism he there expresses.