chapter  7
13 Pages

Past Actions

ByConstantine Sandis

In his historiographical explanations of past actions, Hume’s philosophical writings on character and causation are put into practice. Hume claims that historians are particularly well equipped to evaluate people’s past motives and actions by embodying a just medium between sentiment and disinterest. The present, of course, is another country. 1 But, if valid, Hume’s constraint on historical understanding must also serve as a benchmark for explaining the actions of our contemporaries and perhaps even of our own – past and present – selves (Chapter 4).