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Hume and Liberal Naturalism

Smith, Benedict

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Mario De Caro

David Macarthur


The work of David Hume (1711–1776) is regarded as one of the most influential articulations of a naturalistic approach in philosophy, interpreted by many as a key inspiration for naturalist projects in a range of areas. Hume's ambition was to investigate the foundations of our thought and practice with the aim of explaining our beliefs, ideas, emotions and behavior in ways that rendered them intelligible by science. Interpretations of Hume have often presented him as articulating a clearly recognisable form of scientific naturalism. A reintegration into ordinary life from a period of detached spectatorial reflection enables people to re-inhabit, so to speak, our ordinary natural beliefs providing a form of antidote to scepticism. “Liberal naturalism” has been characterised in a number of ways, emphasising different forms that the process of liberalisation could take. The label “liberal naturalism” was first used by John McDowell in 1999 to articulate a form of naturalism that contrasted with what he called “restrictive naturalism”.

Online Publication Date Mar 15, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Dec 15, 2020
Publicly Available Date Sep 16, 2023
Publisher Routledge
Edition 1st ed.
Book Title The Routledge Handbook of Liberal Naturalism
ISBN 9780815381822
Public URL


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