David Hume’s Mitigated Skepticism


  • Anandasagar University of Hyderabad




Skepticism, Doubt, Probability, Knowledge, Certainty


The main objective of this paper is to explain Hume’s skepticism as moderate skepticism. In section one, an explanation of Hume’s skepticism about the reality of the external world has been carried out in order to distinguish Humean skepticism from Cartesian. A discussion on Hume’s denial of the distinction between primary and secondary qualities and his theory of causation takes place in section two. Hume’s denial of the distinction between primary and secondary qualities supports his skepticism, at least to the extent that the said denial refutes a metaphysical realism of Lokean kind. The discussion on Hume’s theory of causation is meant to explain that Hume’s denial of the necessary relation between cause and effect does not entail that he refutes the propositions with certainty, although he refutes the certainty of empirical propositions. In Section III, I have tried to show how Hume’s skepticism on the Self as a substance (Material or Mental) and that on the Necessity of Self Identity is carried out moderately through the notion of memory and resemblance, although he claims that self is a ‘bundle or collection of different perceptions’. In Section IV, I have tried to underline that Humean skepticism is not as radical as Pyrrhonism.

Author Biography

Anandasagar, University of Hyderabad

Department of Philosophy, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.


Hume, D. (1975). Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding (3rd Edition). Oxford University Press.

Hume, D. (1978). The Treatise of Human Nature, Oxford University Press.

Laird, J. (1932). Hume’s Philosophy of Human Nature. Routledge.

Popkin, R. H. (1966). David Hume: His Pyrrhonism and His Critique of Pyrrhonism. In V.C. Chappel (Ed.), Hume A Collection of Critical Essays. Anchor Books Edition.

Hookway, C. (1990). Skepticism. Routledge.




How to Cite

Anandasagar. (2021). David Hume’s Mitigated Skepticism. Tattva Journal of Philosophy, 13(2), 59-75. https://doi.org/10.12726/tjp.26.4