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Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie

Ed. by Horn, Christoph / Serck-Hanssen, Camilla

Together with Carriero, John / Meyer, Susan Sauvé

Editorial Board Member: Adamson, Peter / Allen, James V. / Bartuschat, Wolfgang / Curley, Edwin M / Emilsson, Eyjólfur Kjalar / Floyd, Juliet / Förster, Eckart / Frede, Dorothea / Friedman, Michael / Garrett, Don / Grasshoff, Gerd / Irwin, Terence / Kahn, Charles H. / Knuuttila, Simo / Koistinen, Olli / Kraut, Richard / Longuenesse, Béatrice / McCabe, Mary / Pasnau, Robert / Perler, Dominik / Reginster, Bernard / Simmons, Alison / Timmermann, Jens / Trifogli, Cecilia / Weidemann, Hermann / Zöller, Günter

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.26

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.270
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 1.111

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Volume 92, Issue 1 (Jan 2010)


Adequate Ideas and Modest Scepticism in Hume's Metaphysics of Space

Donald C. Ainslie
Published Online: 2010-03-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/AGPH.2010.002


In the Treatise of Human Nature, Hume argues that, because we have adequate ideas of the smallest parts of space, we can infer that space itself must conform to our representations of it. The paper examines two challenges to this argument based on Descartes's and Locke's treatments of adequate ideas, ideas that fully capture the objects they represent. The first challenge, posed by Arnauld in his Objections to the Meditations, asks how we can know that an idea is adequate. The second challenge, implicit in Locke's Essay, asks how an empiricist can characterize an idea as inadequate, as both picking out an object and yet failing to capture it fully. In showing how Hume responds to these challenges, his theory of perceptual representation is explained and his treatment of space is related to his scepticism. His conclusion is shown not to be a characterization of space as it exists wholly apart from our powers of conception. Instead, in an adumbration of Kant, his claim is restricted to space as it appears to us.

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Published Online: 2010-03-10

Published in Print: 2010-03-01

Citation Information: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, ISSN (Online) 1613-0650, ISSN (Print) 0003-9101, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/AGPH.2010.002.

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