A Hume-Inspired Argument against Reason

Ruth Weintraub*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the "diminution argument," which Hume adduces in the Treatise section "Scepticism with Regard to Reason," he infers from our universal fallibility that "all the rules of logic require a continual diminution, and at last a total extinction of belief and evidence." My aim in this paper is, first, to show that on all extant interpretations of the argument, it turns out to be very weak, and, second, that there is in the vicinity a significant sceptical argument in support of the conclusion that all our beliefs are totally unjustified, an argument that cannot be easily dismissed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal for the Study of Skepticism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Hume
  • epistemology
  • reason
  • scepticism


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