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Gerald J. Massey
{First, read all the front matter in your Hackett edition of Hume's An Inquiry
concerning Human Understanding as well as Hume's A Letter from a
Gentleman to his Friend in Edinburgh, which appears at the end of the book.
Inspect the table of contents to get a sense of what's in Hume's Inquiry. Read
the editor's introduction (Eric Steinberg is the editor) for background
information about Hume's life and work. The letter to his friend in Edinburgh
will give you some idea of the religious opposition to Hume (they played
hardball in those days) and how Hume answers it, not always ingenuously as
you will soon learn. Look over the Hume bibliography to get a feel for the
amount and range of his published work. Read the "Advertisement" placed
opposite the first page of the Inquiry so that you can see what Hume took to
be the relationship of the present Inquiry to his youthful magnum
opus entitled A Treatise of HumanNature.}
Section I: Of the Different Species of Philosophy
1. Hume means by moral philosophy something very different from what
this term means today. What does Hume mean by it? How is the term used
2 Hume distinguishes two types of philosophy which Professor Massey calls
soft philosophy (Hume's easy and humane philosophy) and hard philosophy
(Hume's accurate and abstruse philosophy). How do these two types of
philosophy differ from one another? What are their respective advantages
and disadvantages? (It may help you to sort matters out if you keep in mind
that Hume sees himself as practicing accurate and abstruse philosophy, i.e.,
hard philosophy.) Which three philosophers does Hume himself name as
practitioners of accurate and abstruse philosophy? Which three does he
name as practitioners of easy and humane philosophy? What does Hume
mean in this Section by metaphysics?
3. Hume is convinced that religion, which he calls superstition, has
infiltrated hard philosophy so as to produce pseudo-metaphysical nonsense to
cover up and protect its weakness. What does he think is the sole and
universal remedy for debunking the pretensions of pseudo-metaphysics?
4. What is the new method (pioneered by John Locke) in philosophy that
Hume proposes to follow? Is it appropriate to call it the epistemic turn? (Did
Descartes follow it?) What negative benefit does Hume hope to achieve by
it? What positive benefits? Is Hume skeptical about our ability to understand
basic facts about the operations of our minds?
5. What does Hume mean by mental geography? Why does he attach
considerable importance to taxonomy of the mind when he clearly recognizes
that taxonomy has very little value in the sciences that deal with physical
things? Does he have any hope that moral science will advance beyond this
taxonomic stage? Is it legitimate to search for a few simple laws to
systematize and explain a large mass of taxonomically organized data about
the mind? Does Hume despair of the advent of a Newton of the mind? What
two achievements does Hume hope for from this Inquiry?
Section II: Of the Origin of Ideas
1. What is a perception of the mind? What examples does Hume give?
Hume divides the perceptions of the mind into two mutually exclusive and
jointly exhaustive classes, namely, thoughts or ideas and impressions. What
is the basis for this division? What examples does Hume give of each class?
How adequate is this division, i.e., is it really mutually exclusive (i.e., no
perception belongs to both classes) and jointly exhaustive (i.e., every
perception belongs to one or the other of the classes) of the perceptions of
the mind? Is Hume's use of the term impression standard for his day?
2. What can we think of, i.e., what ideas are we able to have? Why does
our thought appear to be unlimited, i.e., why does there seem to be no limits
to what we can form ideas of? Can we conceive or think things that imply
contradictions? What does Hume take the materials of thought to be? Where
do they come from? What does Hume take the bounds or limits of thought to
3. For Hume, simple ideas are faint copies of impressions, whereas
complex ideas are ensembles or assemblages of simple ideas. Is every idea
either simple or complex? By what mental operations does the mind
construct or fabricate complex ideas out of simple ones? What examples does
Hume give of simple ideas? What examples does he give of complex ideas
formed out of simple ideas? Where do we get the idea of God as an infinitely
intelligent, wise and good Being?
4. Hume advances two important universal theses about ideas. First, every
simple idea is a copy of an impression of inner or outer sense. Second, every
complex idea is a bundle or assemblage of simple ideas, i.e., complex ideas
are structured ensembles of simple ideas. Hume offers two arguments for
these theses. The first argument turns on the observation that, whenever we
try to do so, we can always reduce a complex idea to simple ideas that are
copies of impressions. The second argument features people who lack one of
the senses (e.g., taste or sight) or who have never been exposed to an object
that excites a certain impression, e.g., a congenitally blind person who has
never experienced colors or an Eskimo who has never tasted pineapple. Set
out these two arguments in detail. Which thesis does each support? How
probative are they? How, according to Hume, can an opponent refute the
first thesis?
5. What is the missing-shade-of-blue thought experiment all about? Is it a
counterexample to the first thesis mentioned in 4. above? If so, why doesn't
Hume discard the thesis, especially since he boasted that it takes only a single
counterexample to refute the thesis? How does Hume resolve the anomaly of
the missing shade of blue? Does he qualify or restrict his general rule that all
simple ideas are copies of impressions?
6. How does Hume propose to use his theory of ideas to cut through
obfuscation and pseudo-profound philosophical talk (the method is sometimes
called Hume's microscope)? To discredit a philosophical idea (in Humes
sense of idea), is it enough to show that it is not a faint copy of any
impression? Why not? How does Hume relate the doctrine of innate ideas to
his theses that simple ideas are copies of impressions, whereas complex ideas
are assemblages of simple ideas?
Section III: Of the Association of Ideas
1. Why does Hume think that the flow or stream of our ideas is not
random, but is governed by principles or laws of connection or association?
Formulate his principles of the association or connection of ideas, namely:
Resemblance, Contiguity in time or place, and Cause or Effect. Give
illustrations of each principle.
2. Hume thinks everyone will concede that his three principles really do
connect or associate ideas one with another. What he thinks is controversial
is his implicit claim that these three principles suffice, i.e., that any other
principle of association of ideas is reducible to these three. How does he
think one might establish the completeness of his three principles of
association of ideas? How does he reduce the principle of Contrast or
Contrariety to his three principles? Is it mere coincidence that Newton
formulated three laws of motion?
{Like Section II, section IV is one of the most important in the entire book. In
a sense, sections II and IV constitute the core of Hume's Inquiry.}
Section IV: Sceptical Doubts concerning the Operations of the
Part I
1. Hume claims that all objects of human reason or inquiry (all
propositions) fall into one of two classes: relations of ideas and matters of
fact (this division is called Humes Fork). What examples does he give of
relations of ideas? In what sciences or disciplines does one usually find
them? Only in mathematics? Are they discovered or known a priori or a
posteriori? Explain the difference between a priori and a posteriori.
2. What examples does Hume give of matters of fact? Where does one
find or meet such propositions? Are matters of fact known a priori or a
posteriori? Are their contraries possible or conceivable? Are their
contradictories possible or conceivable?
3. What, according to Hume, enables us to get beyond memory and sense
perception, i.e., what enables us to know things that are present neither to
sense nor to memory? What examples does he give?
4. Hume claims that we never come to know cause-effect relationships a
priori but always a posteriori, i.e., from experience. What is the thought
experiment about Adam supposed to show? Do people tend to think they
have a priori insight into causal relationships in the case of novel objects or in
the case of things dramatically different from those of everyday experience?
What about cases where the causal mechanism is supposed to be highly
complicated or to depend on hidden structure? What about cases where the
events are familiar, simple, and without apparent hidden structure, e.g.,
collisions and motions of ordinary billiard balls?
5. Spell out Hume's argument for the a posteriori character of causal
knowledge, which takes as its premiss the observation that effect and cause
are totally different, i.e., that they are distinct events.
6. Why does Hume limit the role of human reason in causal matters to
reduction and systematization, i.e., to reducing the number and kinds of
causes to a few general ones and to explaining the former in terms of the
latter? Why isn't applied mathematics an exception to this claim?
Part II
7. What is the nature of all reasonings concerning matters of fact? What is
the foundation of all our reasonings and conclusions concerning cause-and-
effect? How do these two questions differ from the new one which Hume
now raises, namely, what is the foundation of all conclusions from
experience? Formulate Hume's negative answer to this new question, i.e., on
what does he say these conclusions do not depend?
8. What is the utmost that past experience can tell us about which objects
follow upon which other objects? What accounts for our extrapolation to the
future and to unobserved objects?
9. What logical connection or logical relation holds between the following
two propositions?
a. I have found that such an object has always been attended with
such an effect.
b. I foresee that other objects similar in appearance will be
attended with similar effects.
Is this connection or relation intuitive (analytic)? Is it demonstrative, i.e.,
can one deduce the second proposition from the first? Give Hume's
arguments for these conclusions.
10. According to Hume, all experimental conclusions (conclusions based on
experience) are based on or presuppose the principle that the future will be
like the past (the so-called Principle of the Uniformity of Nature). What leads
us to expect similar effects from similar causes? Does a single instance of
cause and effect suffice to mold our expectation? Why not? What does this
fact show?
11. If the inference in 9. above from proposition a. to proposition b. is
neither intuitive nor demonstrative, what kind of inference might it be? If, in
addition, this inference is not experimental (based on experience), what
possibilities remain for it?
12. How does Hume defuse the objection that all that he has shown is that
he can't find a reason or argument that permits him in 9. above to infer
proposition b. from proposition a.? What is the relevance to this of his
observation that stupid people and even infants acquire considerable
knowledge of cause-and-effect?

Section V: Sceptical Solution of these Doubts
Part I
1. Hume thinks that, like religion, many species of philosophy can corrupt
morals, reduce enjoyment of life, and make us lazy and presumptuous. How
is scepticism (academical philosophy) supposed to avoid these pitfalls? Won't
scepticism paralyze us into inaction? E.g., if a person realizes that no reason
can be given for inductive inferences (causal inferences), won't he or she
hesitate to make such inferences or at least hesitate to act on them?

2. Do single cases or single instances of the conjunction of two objects give rise to the
idea of cause-and-effect? If not, why does a multiplicity of cases give rise to this idea?
What do the foregoing facts show about the role of reason in generating this idea?
Could reasoning by itself ever get beyond what is immediately present to the senses or
to memory?

3. Reason does not prompt us to draw conclusions from experience, i.e., to
make inductive or causal inferences, so what principle does prompt such
inferences? What is custom? Is it a type of instinct? How does the invocation
of custom (habit) remove the difficulty about multiple-case versus single-case
causal inferences? Without custom, what would the range of human
knowledge be?

4. How do we move beyond the hypothetical in our beliefs? If we had no senses and
no memory, would all our reasonings be hypothetical? Can we, by reasoning about it,
resist custom (habit) when it leads us to infer one thing from another thing that is
present to our senses or memory when we have found the two things constantly
conjoined in our experience? Is it custom or will, then, that determines what we
believe about matters of fact? Was Descartes wrong to think that we have it always
within our power to suspend judgment on any proposition that we do not clearly
and distinctly perceive to be true?

5. Belief is only one of many propositional attitudes. Besides believing a proposition,
one might merely entertain it or doubt it or imagine it to be true or wish it true or the
like. How does belief differ from other propositional attitudes? How, in particular,
does belief differ from imagining (i.e., pretending) that a proposition is true (i.e.,
fiction) or from merely entertaining (i.e., considering) a proposition?

6. Hume makes belief in a proposition a matter of a certain feeling or sentiment which
accompanies the proposition in our mind. Does Hume offer a definition of this
feeling? Why not? Describe the feeling or sentiment of belief? If we were incapable of
feeling, would we have beliefs? What would Hume say about the choice of words of
someone who expressed his or her belief about the forthcoming presidential election
thus: I feel that the Democratic candidate is going to thrash the Republican

7. Hume posits three principles that govern the association of ideas,
namely: resemblance, contiguity, and causation. Causation, he has already argued,
produces a lively and steady conception of the effect when the cause is present to
sense or memory. Do the other two principles of association also do this, i.e., in
addition to evoking the idea of the resembled thing or of the contiguous thing, do they
also engender a lively and steady conception of this thing? What "experiments" does
Hume appeal to in order to substantiate his claim? Do these two principles of
association lead to a lively and steady conception of an object when what triggered the
idea of the object was another idea without any impression annexed to it? Why can't
resemblance and contiguity by themselves ever lead to belief about real existence
beyond what is present to sense or memory? What do beliefs prompted by
resemblance or contiguity presuppose which not also presupposed by beliefs that are
prompted by causation?

8. Hume speaks of a sort of pre-established harmony between the course of
nature and the course of our ideas. To what harmony or correlation is he
referring? Is the principle that effects this correlation reason or custom
(habit)? Why is it advantageous to the human organism that it be custom
rather than reason that establishes this correspondence? Try to cast your
answer to this last question in the form of a Darwinian explanation of the role
of inductive instinct (custom or habit) in belief formation.

Section VI: Of Probability

{Although this section will not be covered in lecture, recitation, quizzes, or
examinations, you should read it and attend to the following points.}

First, what is probability? At bottom, Hume is a frequentist when it comes to
probability. You'll find Hume saying that probability is the ratio of favorable
cases to all cases, where the cases are themselves equiprobable, i.e.,
probable or comparable in some evident sense. Hume is quite aware that
events are often conjoined with some definite frequency other than unity, and
that custom leads us to infer one event from the other in the probabilistic case as in
the case of constant or invariable conjunction. He seems to think the force of the
belief feeling or sentiment is proportional to the probability and that it reaches a
maximum in the case of constant conjunction. Second, Hume thinks that it is
gratuitous to posit a principle of determinism according to which every event is the
effect of a cause that produces its effect invariably.

Section VII: Of the Idea of Necessary Connection
Part I

1. What is the chief advantage of the mathematical sciences over the moral ones? The
clarity and univocity of what? What is their chief drawback? The length of what and
the complexity of what? Given Hume's theory of ideas as copies of impressions, what
is the obvious way or method to eliminate the obscurity and ambiguity of ideas in the
moral sciences? What is definition? Why does definition serve to clarify and
disambiguate only complex ideas? How, then, does one clarify and disambiguate
simple ideas that are obscure or ambiguous? To what is Hume referring when he
speaks of a new microscope or species of optics, by which, in the moral sciences, the
most minute, and most simple ideas may be so enlarged as to fall readily under our

2. As a test case of philosophical analysis, Hume applies his new microscope
to the idea of necessary connection (power or force or energy). Why did he
choose to investigate this particular idea? Why does he think necessary
connection is a simple idea rather than a complex idea? (If necessary
connection were a complex idea, the way to clarify it or to disambiguate it would be
to define it rather than to look for the impression of which it is a faint copy.)

3. Does Hume think that the idea of necessary connection is a copy of an impression
produced by single instances of physical events that stand in a causal relation? Why
not? Does it arise from reflection on the operations of the mind? In particular, does it
arise from the control of or influence over the body by the will? What arguments or
examples does Hume give to show that we come to know the influence of the will
over the body only by experience? Does the idea of necessary connection arise, then,
from an impression produced or felt when the mind or will operates on ideas or other
mental contents, as when we will to call up ideas or propositions? What arguments
and examples does he use to show that we learn the influence of will over thoughts
and other mental contents only by experience?

4. What is the philosophical thesis known as occasionalism? Was Descartes an
occasionalist? What arguments does Hume advance against occasionalism?
What, from a Humean point of view, is the
fundamental mistake of the occasionalists? (Hint: Could one hold that
necessary connection is a pseudo idea and still be an occasionalist?) Would
Hume be convinced or converted if an occasionalist produced a sound
argument (valid argument with true premisses) whose conclusion was
occasionalism? Why not? What would he take such an argument to show
about our methods of argumentation?

Part II

5. Summarize what Hume takes himself to have shown about the idea of
necessary connection at this point. What does he mean when he says that all
events seem entirely loose and separate? What seems to be the moral or
conclusion of all this? What is the only possible way to avoid this conclusion,
i.e., where is the only remaining place one might find an impression that
answers to the idea of necessary connection?

6. What sentiment or impression does Hume at last find behind the idea of
necessary connection when he investigates what happens when we
experience a multiplicity of cases wherein an event of one type invariably
follows an event of another type? Couldn't a single case of one such event
following another such event have given rise to the same feeling or
impression? Where is the connection, in the world or in the mind? Isn't
necessary connection, then, a case of projecting something mental onto the
world? How unusual is this? Do we do it with colors or sounds or tastes? Has
Hume now shown that the idea of necessary connection is philosophically

7. Hume now advances two definitions of cause, namely, (a) an object, followed by
another, and where all the objects similar to the first are followed by objects similar
to the second, and (b) an object followed by another, and whose appearance always
conveys the thought to that other. Are these two definitions equivalent? That is, do
they pick out the same events as causes (and as effects)? Is the following restatement
by Hume of his definition (a) equivalent to definition (a), namely: an object followed
by another where, if the first object had not been, the second never had existed?

Section VIII: Of Liberty and Necessity
Part I

1. Why does Hume think that the problem of liberty and necessity (free will
versus determinism) is wholly verbal? How, then, does he propose to solve or
settle the dispute?

2. What is the doctrine of necessity? Does it fit in nicely with Hume's views
about causation? Do human actions come under causal laws? Are there
apparent exceptions, i.e., are there any human actions so singular that they
seem not to conform to causal laws? How are these apparent exceptions best
explained? Could there be any science of human nature without such

3. Do we find greater uniformity in the natural sphere than in the human
sphere? Do some natural events seem not to conform to causal laws? Is
physical (natural) causality and necessity different from human causality and
necessity? If not, why do most people profess to believe the opposite? Do
they really believe what they profess?

4. What is liberty in the sphere of voluntary human action? Is it opposed to
constraint or to necessity? Is it compatible with human actions being caused,
e.g., caused by motives?

Part II

5. Would it refute Hume's views about freedom and necessity (or any other
Humean thesis) to show that these views have undesirable moral, political, or
religious consequences? Why not? What type of consequences alone serve to
refute a thesis?

6. Hume claims his views about liberty and necessity are not only consistent
with conventional morality but that the latter presupposes the former as a
foundation. In what sense does conventional morality presuppose Hume's
views about liberty and necessity? Would the practice of praising and blaming
as well as the practice of rewarding and punishing make sense if Hume's
views were wrong? Are his views really consistent with conventional morality?
How does his defense of his claim go?

7. Hume's views about causality and human action seem to have two
undesirable consequences, namely, that no human actions are morally bad
because God, as their cause, is morally responsible for them, and that God is
responsible for the evil in the world. How does one get to these two
propositions from Hume's views? Is Hume satisfied, apropos the first
consequence, by the observation that there is no evil in the whole but only in
the parts of the universe? Why not? On what does Hume think judgments of
vice and virtue depend? Does he think that God is responsible for evil? What
status does he assign to this question or problem? Is inconsistency or
contradiction in views about a problem like that of liberty and necessity a
serious matter for Hume? Why not? What, then, is the proper province of
human reason for Hume?

Section IX: Of the Reason of Animals

1. On what does Hume think that all reasonings concerning matters of fact
are based? How does imperfect analogy differ from perfect analogy? Are
inferences based on them equally cogent? What is the observation of the
circulation of blood in frogs supposed to show and to be an example of?
2. How should we assess a theory about the human mind that is needed to
explain operations of animal minds? (In his Treatise, Hume calls this
methodological principle his Touchstone for testing theories about minds.)
Why does he proceed to apply this touchstone to his theory of experimental
reasoning (his theory of how we reason about matters of fact and real
existence)? Does he think that animals, like men, learn many things from
experience? Do they expect that like effects will follow like causes? Are these
inferences or expectations based on past experience? To what evidence for
these claims does
Hume point? Can one account for these animal inferences or expectations as
instances of reasoning or argument that invokes some sort of uniformity of
nature principle? Do human children make causal inferences in this way?
Why not? Is animal belief to be explained in the same way Hume explained
human belief? Why didn't Nature entrust such important operations as
inferences to reasoning and argumentation rather than to habit or custom?
Why are some humans better at causal inference than others? Why are
humans better at it than animals are?
3. Do animals acquire all their knowledge of matters of fact and real
existence from sense perception and causal reasoning? If not, what is it like
and where do they get it? What is INSTINCT? Is causal reasoning itself an
instinct? Do animals have a priori knowledge of matters of fact and real
existence? If so, how can this be reconciled with Hume's system? Do
humans have a priori knowledge of matters of fact and real existence? If not,
are animals cognitively better endowed than humans?

Section X: Of Miracles
Part I

1. How proud is Hume of his argument against miracles? Are we ever led
into error by causal reasoning? What is the relevance of Hume's example
about expecting a week of better weather in June than in December in
Scotland? Do we ever make inferential errors when the conjunction of events
on which the reasoning is based has been constant and uniform? To what do
the wise proportion their belief? How does proof differ from demonstration
and from probability?
2. How common, useful, and necessary is reasoning based on human
testimony? On what does such reasoning depend? On past experience of
human veracity and of the conformity of events to reports about them? On
the relation of cause and effect? When does the evidence of human
testimony have the status of probability? When does it become proof? What
factors will
enhance the force of testimony? What factors will diminish it? Is the
improbability of the reported event one of these diminishing factors? What is
the significance of Plutarch's remark "I should not believe such a story were it
told me by CATO"? Did the Indian prince who refused to believe the accounts
of snow and ice reason justly?
3. What does Hume mean by a miracle? If the reported event is
miraculous, is this circumstance direct and full proof against its occurrence?
What if the testimony to the miracle is so solid that its falsity would be
miraculous, or even more miraculous than the wondrous event? What should
a rational person conclude if he or she finds a miracle supported by absolutely
incontrovertible testimony?

Part II

1. Has any miraculous event ever been attested to by testimony so solid as
to constitute a proof? Hume gives four reasons why no miracle is ever
supported by absolutely incontrovertible testimony? What are these reasons?
Why are the miracles of one religion proof against those of another? Has the
evidence (testimony) for any miracle ever amounted to a proof? To a
2. What are profane miracles? What examples does Hume give? How do
they differ from religious miracles? Might it ever be rational to believe in
them? If so, why can't it ever rational to believe in religious miracles? Why
does he reject religious miracles even more strenuously than profane ones?
3. How does Hume assess the miracles related in the Pentateuch? How
does he purport to reconcile his views about miracles with the Christian
religion? Is his proposed reconciliation successful? Do you think he's sincere
about it?

Section XI: Of a Particular Providence and of a Future State

1. Hume thinks that the argument from design errs by attributing more to the
cause than is found in the effect, i.e., by not properly proportioning the
inferred cause to the observed effect. Why is this an error or fallacy? In what
way is the argument from design supposed to fall prey to it? When the
inferred cause is properly proportioned to the effect, what sort of designer
can one infer from the world as the effect or handiwork of this designer?

2. Does Hume think it inimical to good morals to deny that the world is
produced by a deity who will punish the wicked and reward the good in a
future state? Why not? Won't such denial at least corrupt those people who
now act only out of fear of divine punishment?

3. What is the effect-to-cause-to-effect fallacy that Hume claims to find in
those versions of the design argument that infer a providential deity (a
supreme being who punishes the wicked and rewards the good) as cause of
the world? How does the design argument commit this fallacy? How does
Hume respond to the examples of the half-finished building and the solitary
footprint in the sand, which purport to show that the effect-to-cause-to-effect
form of reasoning is not fallacious? When is this form of reasoning not

4. Is it possible, given Hume's views about causal inference, to infer that
there is a designer behind the universe as its cause? Why not? How does this
all square with Hume's endorsement of the design argument in his letter to
his friend in Edinburgh? Can you save Hume from self-serving hypocrisy?

Section XII: Of the Academical or Sceptical Philosophy

1. Why does Hume reject Descartes's method of universal doubt, which he describes
as a species of scepticism that is antecedent to science and philosophy? In what way is
it antecedent to them (in contrast to mitigated scepticism, also known as academical
philosophy, which is consequent upon science and philosophy)?

2. What does Hume take the sceptical problem about the external world to
be? What kind of a world do people naturally posit? What do they take the
connection between their images or ideas and the things in this world to be?
How does philosophy destroy this comfortable belief? Would Hume accept
Descartes's solution in the Sixth Meditation to the problem of the external

3. Is the question whether sense ideas are produced by external objects that
resemble them a proposition that expresses a relation of ideas or a matter of
fact? If the latter, how can the question be answered since only ideas are
present to the mind? Can one give a rational answer to this question?

4. Hume thinks that the reasons philosophers have had for locating secondary qualities
in the mind rather than in the world also apply to primary qualities. Why does he think
this? What are the sceptical consequences of this position?

Part II

5. Hume thinks scepticism about mathematics (reasonings about relations of ideas)
turns on the paradoxes or antinomies that derive from the alleged infinite divisibility
of matter. How does he propose to avoid these problems? Does he agree with
Descartes that clear-and-distinct ideas could never contradict one another? What
sceptical consequences for knowledge about matters of fact stem from Hume's views
about causality?

6. Having discovered the limits of reason, we should confine our reasonings
within these limits. What are these limits? How, in accordance with these
limits, should we decide which books to keep and which to throw away if we are
resolved to rid our library of books that contain nothing but sophistry and illusion?
Would we throw away Descartes's Meditations? Hume's Inquiry?