Teaching & learning guide for: Hume on mental representation and intentionality

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Claims and arguments about mental representation, i.e., representation by mental items or perceptions, are central to Hume's philosophy: For example, one of his main projects in Book I of the Treatise and the first Enquiry is to clarify what our idea of causation represents, and his case against moral rationalism, in Book III of the Treatise, rests partly on Book II's claim that passions are non‐representational. These claims and arguments must be underwritten by a theory of mental representation. But Hume gives no explicit, unified statement of such a theory—none of his works contains a section “Of Mental Representation”—and recent years have seen a lively debate among scholars as to what his theory is.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12520
JournalPhilosophy Compass
Issue number8
Early online date2 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2018


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