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History of Modern Philosophy Research Group Talk (Manuel Vasquez Villavicencio, Toronto)

Friday November 26, 2021, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

The History of Modern Philosophy Research Group is pleased to welcome Manuel Vasquez Villavicencio, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the philosophy department at the University of Toronto.

Please note that this is a read-ahead event. To receive the full paper before the talk, please contact Michaela Manson.

Talk Title

A Virtuous Way of Doing Philosophy: Scepticism and the Moderation of Curiosity in Hume’s Philosophical Method

Talk Abstract

In A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume proposes and follows a new approach to philosophical methodology. This approach results from integrating an empirically founded sceptical perspective with an innovative study of the central role of emotions in our cognitive activities. I contend that this original combination of scepticism, empiricism, and moral psychology aims to establish a virtuous way of doing philosophy based on the moderation of the emotions at the basis of our epistemic pursuits, especially curiosity. In this paper, I present the structure and operating principles of this virtuous way of doing philosophy. The paper has three parts. In the first one, I claim that four general prescriptions compose Hume’s philosophical methodology. I contend that the moderation of curiosity plays the central role among them. In the second part of the paper, I claim that Hume grants such importance to curiosity’s moderation because of the pernicious effects obtaining when this passion becomes excessive and misplaced. Finally, in the third part of the paper, I contend that the impossibility to satisfy an excessive and misplaced curiosity drives Hume to the
emotional crisis he depicts in the Conclusion of Book 1 of the Treatise. That allows me to substantiate the claim that the crisis illustrates the virtuous way of doing philosophy that Hume presented at the introduction to the Treatise.

About the History of Philosophy Group

One of six departmental Research Interest Groups, the History of Philosophy Group is home to the History of Modern Philosophy Research Group, which focuses on the period, roughly, from Descartes to Kant.



Friday November 26, 2021
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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History of Modern Philosophy Research Group


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Toronto, Ontario M5R 2M8 Canada
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