While thinking of what blog name I should have, I noticed two interesting themes in blog names: self-referring names like What Is It Like to Be a Blog, This is the Name of This Blog, etc., and self-effacing names like Unpolished Jade, Obscure and Confused Ideas, and so on.
Not clever enough to think up a self-referring name, I decided to go with a self-effacing name. Not being very imaginative either, I first thought Footnotes to Footnotes to Plato might be good enough. For readers who are not versed in philosophy, that is of course from A. N. Whitehead’s remark, “The entire history of western philosophy is nothing but a series of footnotes to Plato.”
But then I reminded myself that I admire Hume a great deal more than Plato. I also like names that wear their authors’ allegiances and aspirations on their sleeves, e.g., Unpolished Jade (which I think neatly alludes to Analects 1:15) and In Socrates’ Wake. Hence the name Footnotes to Hume.
So what do I admire about Hume? His books. His naturalism and skepticism. And his ethics founded on human nature. I would, however, supplement his ethics with some of Kant’s insights, and I believe he was wrong in his account of practical reasoning. But more on that later.
I intend to post some of my dissertation-related thoughts on this blog. The dissertation will be a study of how practical reasoning relates to human nature on the one hand, and morality on the other. And Hume will figure centrally in the study. But the blog will not be restricted to Hume or my dissertation. I am just as much interested in comparative philosophy, especially Chinese philosophy (and among Chinese philosophers, Mencius and Zhuangzi). I have some interest in naturalist (but non-reductionist) metaphysics as well. So I will blog about these topics too, and occasionally on other topics of general philosophical interest.