Presenter: Professor Dario Perinetti (Universite du Quebec a Montreal)

In this paper I shall argue that Hume has a recognition-theory conception of the Self. The thesis may seem controversial for two reasons. The first is that it is widely believed that recognition theories are a post-Kantian German invention, so to attribute such theory to Hume would be to commit anachronism. The second reason is that, arguably, Hume was a sceptic about the self and, hence, simply does not have any robust conception of the self, not to mention a recognition theory. I shall first explain what are the theoretical requirements of a recognition theory of the self as I see it. Secondly, I will argue that recognition theories existed before German Idealism and, thus, it is not anachronistic to attribute that kind of theory to Hume. Thirdly, I will argue that the positive views of the self expounded in books two and three of Hume's Treatise, satisfy at least the two most important requirements of a recognition theory of the self. By way of conclusion I will open the discussion on whether there are reasons to believe that Hume's account satisfies the other requirements as well.


E302, Forgan Smith Building (1),
St Lucia campus