Guest Speaker - Hsueh Qu

Event Date: Tuesday, October 8 - 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Location: Humanities 587
Illustration by Petra Eriksson

Hsueh Qu presents "Metaphysical Problems in Hume."

This talk is a concatenation of two short papers exploring metaphysical problems in Hume.

First, I will make the case that Hume’s psychological framework seems to allow for impossible predicative conceptions—that is, the conceiving of impossible states of affairs involving subjects instantiating properties or qualities—which violate his Conceivability Principle. Attempting to limit the scope of the Conceivability Principle to only clear and distinct general ideas fails to resolve the worry. I conclude that Hume’s Conceivability Principle requires a meaningful departure from his framework.

Second, I will argue that Hume’s position that all perceptions have independent existence seems to lie in tension with his position that complexes cannot exist independently of their parts. Modifying Hume’s system to remove this inconsistency proves a difficult task, since it requires a modification of the Separability Principle that does not seem plausible.

Brief Bio:

Hsueh Qu is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. Previously, he received his Ph.D. from New York University, and completed his undergraduate and B.Phil. at Oxford University. He is originally from Malaysia. His research interest is Early Modern, primarily the scholarship of David Hume; he also has interests in Kant and Mary Shepherd. He has published in journals such as Mind, Nous, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, and has a forthcoming manuscript with Oxford University Press titled Hume's Epistemological Evolution. In all his endeavors, he asks you to forgive him his failings, for he is only Humean after all.

Hume illustration credit to Petra Eriksson