chapter  4
19 Pages

People Across Time

ByConstantine Sandis

Contrary to received opinion, I wish to maintain that Hume believes that human beings can function as agents with considerable two-way causal powers (Chapter 5). To reach the interpretative position from which this can be clearly demonstrated, however, we must first confront the exegetical nightmare engulfing Hume’s philosophy of the self and his subsequent dismissal of it in the Treatise’s Appendix. This will enable us to distinguish between Hume’s notions of self, identity, and character in a way that clarifies how it is that he can, without contradiction, claim that people have character traits that persist across time in a fashion that also renders them crucial for moral responsibility.