UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

David Hume : self identity Browning, Walter Frank


In the 'Appendix' to the Treatise of Human Nature (1.) David Hume asserts that he has been unable to explain the principles which can adequately account for the unity and the identity of the self. There exists in Book I of the Treatise, a principle, which can in fact account for the unity and identity of the self. Hume utilizes the principle in his explication of our belief in the continued and independent existence of a material world. He did not, however, utilize the principle in his explanation of the unity and identity of the self. In the Introduction I indicate what the principle asserts and precisely how Hume utilizes it. In chapter one I examine Hume's concept of identity with a view towards clarifying some puzzles which arise in his account. Also in this chapter I point out how his explanation of the manner in which identity is predicated of a multiplicity can be improved. Both the Introduction and chapter one prepare the way for a clear statement of the manner in which identity is predicated of the self in chapter two. I show furthermore, how an impression of the self is possible upon the principles of Book I. (1.) All references to the Treatise are to the L.A. Selby-Bigge edition, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1955.

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