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David Hume and the Problem of Other Minds by Anik Waldow

David Hume and the Problem of Other Minds

Part of the Continuum Studies in British Philosophy Series


David Hume and the Problem of Other Minds by Anik Waldow

The problem of other minds has widely been considered as a special problem within the debate about scepticism. If one cannot be sure that there is a world existing independent ly of one's mind, how can we be sure that there are minds - minds which we cannot even experience the way we experience material objects? This book shows, through a detailed examination of David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature, that these concerns are unfounded. By focusing on Hume's discussion of sympathy - the ability to connect with the mental contents of other persons - Anik Waldow demonstrates that belief in other minds can be justified by the same means as belief in material objects. The book thus not only provides the first large-scale treatment of the function of the belief in other minds within the Treatise, thereby adding a new dimension to Hume's realism, but also serves as an invaluable guide to the complexity of the problem of other minds and its various responses in contemporary debate.


In David Hume and the problem of other minds, Anik Waldow has used the problem of the existence of other minds as a lens through which to view Hume's attitude to sceptical arguments and what they show. Since Hume's treatment of other minds is located in his account of the passions and sentiments, rather than in his accounts of scepticism as such, we are able to build up a more comprehensive picture of just what role sceptical arguments play in our understanding of the world in Hume's philosophy. Our grasp of Hume's project is thereby enhanced considerably. - Professor Stephen Gaukroger, University of Sydney, Australia

Anik Waldow makes illuminating connections between Hume's views on why we should trust our causal inferences and why we should trust our interpretations of what other persons are thinking and feeling. She spells out Hume's answer to a philosophical problem that only later thinkers formulated and addressed. - Annette

About the Author

Anik Waldow is a research fellow in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney, Australia.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th October 2011


Anik Waldow

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Continuum Publishing Corporation


218 pages


Western philosophy: c 1600 to c 1900
Philosophy of mind



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