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An Ode to Hume’s Skepticism


An Ode to Hume’s Skepticism


Jason's Pictures May 2009 - February 2010 283

Jason Zarri

The legacy of David Hume, like the appearance of the Moon, 

is sometimes waxing, sometimes waning, 

but hopefully never, forever fading.

The Treatise fell dead-born from the press,

The Enquiries had more success,

and the Dialogues should still impress

all those who in clerical garb do dress.

But be you “friend” or be you “foe”;

please, do not betide him woe.

For concerning all subjects whatsoever,

he strove to be skeptical in equal measure.

Skepticism, being no exception,

itself came under his inspection.

At Pyrrho’s doctrine he looked askance,

but in the Academy’s he saw a chance

to get vain reason to abdicate its pride, 

letting humble experience show forth its light far and wide.

And Hume himself, though he could have been humbler,

helped to wake Kant from his dogmatic slumber.


So everyone, pray, of every school,

consider Hume may be errant, but surely no fool.

Would it not do us much good to admit,

’tis the height of folly to seek more knowledge than our nature will permit?

Finally, to any philosophers who meet this maxim with dread,

I say: Beware of rushing in where fools would fear to tread!

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