Understanding Hume as an Affectivity Theorist
Katharina Paxman (Brigham Young University), Katharina Paxman (Brigham Young University)

March 12, 2021, 10:30am - 12:00pm

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Abstract: I will argue that traditional readings of Hume have largely overlooked a conceptual innovation that is central to Hume’s theory of human nature: his account of the movement of feeling as an addition to his more traditional associationist psychology. This is best explored by examining the novel use made by Hume of the term ‘emotion’ in the Treatise, where Hume understands himself to be an ‘anatomist’ of the mind, seeking to provide a foundation for explanation of human cognition and behavior in terms of mental events. I will argue that feeling plays the central role in this account, and this makes Hume’s primary work on human nature the work of an affectivity theorist. I will suggest that this characterization of Hume is important for two reasons. First, his understanding of human nature as fundamentally affective in nature is a theoretical commitment that underlies and unifies all his written work. Second, Hume’s work as an affectivity theorist anticipates contemporary affectivity science in surprising ways, suggesting that his treatment of mind may still have much to contribute to this developing science.

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Topic: Katharina Paxman, "Understanding Hume as an Affectivity Theorist"
Time: Mar 12, 2021 03:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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