Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Starr, William

Second Advisor

Wreen, Michael

Third Advisor

Adams, Noel


I begin the dissertation by elucidating Hume's conception of time as a compound abstract idea and explain why Hume believes time must be discrete and atomistic. I then explore the ways in which Hume's theory of causation rests upon this atomistic conception of time, and place special emphasis on Hume's argument that all causes qua causes must precede their effects in time. I claim that this argument is inconsistent with Hume's critique of the causal maxim, a principle which states that whatever begins to exist must have a cause. After exposing and examining this inconsistency, I investigate the degree to which Hume's account of the process of induction also depends upon his discrete, discontinuous conception of time. I end the dissertation by summarizing what I accomplished in earlier chapters, and by discussing potential areas for future research.

Included in

Philosophy Commons