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  3. 1st “Methodologies” Study Group Session, 2nd Unit

1st “Methodologies” Study Group Session, 2nd Unit

1st “Methodologies” Study Group Session, 2nd Unit

1  On February 21, 2014, at the Toyo University Hakusan Campus (Building 8, Meeting Room 2) a talk entitled “Hume and Nominalism” was given by Takenaka Kurumi (Ircp Project Research Assistant, currently a doctoral student in Toyo University’s Graduate School of Letters). Takenaka’s presentation served as the first meeting of the “Methodologies” study group hosted by the 2nd Unit of the Ircp, and was taken from part of the dissertation she is currently preparing on David Hume.

   Takenaka began by summarizing the basic principles underpinning Humean philosophy. She explained the core concepts of Humean philosophy, “perception,” “impression,” and “idea,” and questioned how they are situated within not only Hume’s work, but the history of European philosophy from the 17th century onward. In particular, questions about how diverse simple ideas become complex ones via the fuction of the imagination and about the intrinsic qualities of such unions and associations provided the theoretical foundation for the second half of Takenaka’s presentation on her main topic of nominalism in Hume. For Hume, she argued, both the idea of substance and the idea of mode are nothing more than simple ideas combined through the faculty of the imagination to form complex ideas and that each of those has its own name. We are able to call to mind those assemblages by those names. When we use a general term, it is impossible to try whether it can really apply to every individual idea corresponding it. Then we recall nothing but to mind a particular idea through custom or habit. And individual ideas are collected by means of resemblance or the function of the imagination. Takenaka then made reference to such problems as constant conjunction, the concept of “type,” and the idea of substance as points deserving of further discussion once such arguments as that are accepted.

2   Her presentation was a persuasive one, with references to the works of Hume and prior research by others. The researchers participating in the study group were mainly younger scholars from Toyo and other institutions engaged in specialized research on Hume or in other areas of Western philosophy. The enthusiastic discussions that unfolded touched on both Humean thought and Takenaka’s interpretations thereof.