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01/11/2018

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Aaron Garrett

I don't see why the target isn't Hobbes, given the evidence -- Hume's note (I don't see any reason to think it's not his note). Hume has already provided a (brilliant) argument against the necessity of a first cause at I.3.3. He is trying to show how despite the great differences between philosophers -- Hobbes, Clarke, Locke -- they all think this principle he has just proven false is true. In other words his primary interest is the ubiquity of the principle despite differences in ontology, epistemology, etc.

Eric Schliesser

I agree with your last two sentences, but agree with Anscombe that this particular paragraph seems not very oriented against Hobbes.

Aaron Garrett

I don't see why. Hume's restatement of the argument at most strengthens Hobbes's argument (I think this argument form can also be found in Clarke), which is perfectly acceptable. ii-iv are fine if it is understood that his goal is not to disprove Hobbes. He has already shown why all such arguments are false. His goal is to show an affinity between Hobbes, Clarke, and Locke. He certainly thinks proofs of God fail in what they try to show, and it is important that they do. But more than that he wants to show how cause is interconnected with most of our beliefs and most everything we think and do, and then to pull the rug out. The same for illicit causal principles and they make unlikely bedfellows like Hobbes and Clarke.

As an aside there is no argument I love teaching more than I.3.3. So beautiful!

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.

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