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4 Hume’s Copernican Turn

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Chapter Summary

The author intends to explore Copernicus's relevance for Hume's project. He suggests that Hume's allegiance to Copernicanism means a commitment to searching for principles of human nature underlying various human phenomena. Moral philosophy enters its post-Copernican phase by taking methodological commitments to explanatory reductionism and analogical reasoning. The author also argues that Hume's project has central features that make it similar to Kant's critical project after Kant's Copernican turn. Hume also understands his own project as foundational: a critical work that should be done before immersing ourselves into other cognitive enterprises. Similar to Kant's project, Hume's science of man aims to explore the limits and the conditions of possibility of human knowledge, the main difference being that Hume follows a naturalistic as opposed to a transcendental method. Thus, while a Copernican turn means different things in Hume and Kant, its consequences entail important similarities in their philosophical positions.

Keywords: Copernican turn; Copernicanism; Hume's project; Kant



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