Fall 1998, Vol. XXVII, No. 2

Bulletin of the
Department of Philosophy - University of Iceland, IS-101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Call for Nominations to the Executive Committee

The Hume Society now invites nominations to the Executive Committee. Only members of the Society are eligible for nomination; they must be proposed by at least two other members and must agree to serve if elected in order to be officially nominated. Proposals should be sent to the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Hume Society by 31 October 1998 for the elections to be held by mail ballot in November, 1998. Please note that according to our constitution, "A member of the Hume Society shall be a person who has paid dues for the current year." Nominations may be sent by post or e-mail.

The Executive Committee should consist of ten members, nine of whom, including the President of the Society, are elected by the membership (in groups of three) to staggered three-year terms. The Secretary-Treasurer (elected by the Executive Committee to a five-year term) serves ex officio as the tenth member of the Executive Committee. In fact, due to re-shuffling of personnel in 1997, the Executive Committee presently consists of only nine members.

Those whose terms will expire at the end of 1998 are Elizabeth Radcliffe, John Wright and Tito Magri. Elizabeth and John are finishing regular three-year terms and are both eligible for re-election. Tito Magri was appointed by the Executive Committee to a one-year term, finishing out the term of Mikael M. Karlsson who became the Secretary-Treasurer at the beginning of 1998. Tito is now eligible for election to a regular three-year term (and by decision of the Executive Committee would thereafter be eligible for re-election to a second term).

In any case, three persons must be elected in November to three-year terms which will run through the end of 2001. In addition, to bring the Executive Committee up to its full complement of ten members, a fourth person must be elected to a two-year term, which will run through the end of 2000. The Executive Committee has decided that the three nominees receiving the highest number of votes in the November balloting will take up the three-year terms and the nominee in fourth place the two-year term.

Other members of the Executive Committee are currently: Simon Blackburn, Stephen Darwall and Kenneth Winkler (terms running to the end of 1999); and John Biro (President) and Jane McIntyre (terms running to the end of 2000).

Stirling: Another Great Hume Conference!

Plaudits for the Stirling Conference. Participants were obviously impressed with the Twenty-Fifth Hume Society Conference, which was held in Stirling, Scotland at the University of Stirling, 20-24 July 1998, and which celebrated the 250th anniversary of the initial publication of the First Enquiry. The Conference Directors were Jane McIntyre, Tony Pitson and Peter Millican. The Stirling Conference was beautifully organized and offered a strong scientific program. The Society is extremely grateful to the conference directors; and, following tradition, they were each presented with a bottle of single malt by Wade Robison, standing in for John Biro. The Society is also grateful to the many other people who helped to make this a successful Hume Conference.

Business Meeting. In the regrettable, but unavoidable, absence of both the President and Secretary-Treasurer, the Society’s business meeting, held on July 22nd, was chaired by Jane McIntyre. Although absent, both the President and the Secretary-Treasurer submitted reports.

President John Biro apologized in his report to the membership for not being able to attend the Stirling Conference. His report contained three items: (1) an announcement of the Hume Conference sites for 2000 (Williamsburg) and 2001 (Las Vegas); (2) an announcement of the signing of a contract with the Philosophy Documentation Center for the inclusion of Hume Studies in their Poiesis on-line access project; and (3) an announcement of the Executive Committee’s current search for new editors for the journal. All three items are more fully reported upon elsewhere in this Bulletin (q.v.).

In his interim Secretary-Treasurer’s report, covering the period 1 January-30 June 1998, Mikael M. Karlsson reported that the assets of the Hume Society, expressed in US$, amounted to $35,014.71, and that the Society’s membership had risen to 510. He also apologized to the membership for his absence in a covering message.

Two motions were passed at the business meeting. The first was a motion to honor, on the occasion of the 25th Hume Society Conference, those individuals who created the Society, especially James King, Don Livingston, and the members of the first Executive Committee. To these people, the Society owes its very existence and its development into a scholarly association of the highest calibre. They can be very proud of what they created, but their friends and colleagues in the Hume Society are no less proud of them. The second motion was a proposal to honor the conference directors, and this was executed at the Banquet, to tumultuous applause, by Wade Robison with the aforementioned bottles of single malt and a characteristically impertinent laudatory speech.

The touchy question of presenting Irish conference directors with Scotch whisky at next year’s Hume Conference in Cork was not addressed. Keep in mind that the Irish spelling is "whiskey" (as in the US, but not in Scotland or Canada).

Cork Conference on "Society and Mind"

July 19-23, 1999: Call for Papers!

As previously announced, the twenty-sixth anniversary conference of the Hume Society will be held at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland, July 19-23, 1999. The submission deadline for papers is November 1, 1998; so far, only a few submissions have been received.

The theme for the conference will be "Society and Mind", construed broadly, to include Hume on the mind, society, social aspects of mind, mental aspects of society, and related topics. Papers bearing some relation to the theme will be especially welcome; however, papers on any aspect of Hume’s life and works will be considered.

Papers should be no more than thirty minutes reading length with self-references deleted for blind reviewing; the author’s name should appear only on a front cover sheet. Papers may be in English, French or German, but an abstract in English is required for all papers. Authors are requested to submit papers and abstracts in triplicate. All submissions should be sent to: Professor Mikael M. Karlsson, Executive Secretary of the Hume Society, University of Iceland, Main Building, IS-101 Reykjavik, Iceland.

The Directors of the Cork Conference are: Steven Darwall, Desmond Clarke and Garrett Barden. For further information, consult the web page for this conference at:


The Hume Society has set aside up to $1000 for the support of graduate students reading papers at the annual Hume Society meetings, to be given at the discretion of the Conference Co-Directors to those whose papers have been accepted through the normal vetting process.

10th Enlightenment Congress:

25-31 July 1999

University College Dublin

Members of the Hume Society are likely to have a special interest in the 10th Enlightenment Congress, which will be held at University College Dublin almost immediately following the 1999 Hume Society Conference in Cork. The dates of the Dublin meeting are 25-31 July 1999.

For further information, consult the Congress web page at:


Conference Sites for 2000 and 2001

As announced at the Hume Conference in Stirling, the Society’s 2000 and 2001 Conferences will be held at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia, and at The University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Two North American conferences have been scheduled in a row to "counterbalance" the two European conferences in 1998 (Stirling) and 1999 (Cork). Normally, the Society holds a North American conference every second year and a conference off the North American continent in alternate years.

The directors of the William and Mary Conference will be Dorothy Coleman, James Dye and Tito Magri. Exact dates have not been set, but the Conference will be held in late July or early August, 2000.

The on-site director for the Las Vegas Conference will be Craig Walton. Tentative dates for this conference are 16-20 July 2001.

"Hume on Religion": 19-20 February 1999

University of Toronto at Scarborough

The University of Toronto at Scarborough will host a conference on "Hume on Religion", to be held 19-20 February 1999. The scheduled speakers are:

John Gaskin (University College Dublin), Miguel Badía Cabrera (Universidad de Puerto Rico), Dorothy Colemen (College of William and Mary), James Dye (Northern Illinois University), Lorne Falkenstein (University of Western Ontario), Stanley Tweyman (York University), Fred Wilson (University of Toronto)

Fuller information can be found on the web page for the conference:


Correspondence and inquiries should be sent to: Beryl Logan, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Division of Humanities, Philosophy, 1265 Military Trail, Scarborough, Ontario M1C 1A4, Canada Tel. (416) 287-7167.

Forthcoming: Páll Árdal—Passions, Promises and Punishment

Forthcoming from the University of Iceland Press is a collection of articles by Páll Árdal, one of the Hume Society’s most respected elder statesmen and author of the influential book, Passion and Value in Hume’s Treatise. The forthcoming collection, Passions, Promises and Punishment, contains articles on Hume as well as articles on other subjects, such as promises and punishment, which are written from Páll’s very Humean perspective. Some of the collected articles are well known, but others are previously unpublished. The book includes a lengthy introduction by Fred Wilson. The announced price of the collection is US$ 35. It may be ordered from the University of Iceland Press, University of Iceland, IS-101 Reykjavík, Iceland; fax (354) 552-1331, e-mail <jorig@hi.is>.

John W. Davis (1921-1998)–In Memorium

It is with deep sadness that we note the passing of John Whitney Davis on July 12, 1998, at age 77. He was the dearly beloved husband, for 44 years, of Rae Davis and the proud father of son Whitney of Chicago and daughter Martha of Toronto, and their partners Brent Adams and Scott Whittington.

Jack was born February 11th, 1921 in Framingham, Massachussetts. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston University in 1947. During World War II, he served four and a half years in the U.S. Army Air Force as a navigator and in the Air Transport Command. After the war, he completed his graduate work at Boston University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1957. Jack taught for 8 years at Emerson College, Boston. The Davis Family came to Canada in 1957: Jack taught at the University of Western Ontario until his retirement in 1986. In 1987, the Davises moved to Toronto, at which point Jack taught on a part-time basis for several years at York University.

Jack published significant scholarly articles in the history of philosophy on Berkeley, Hume, Leibniz, and Empiricism, and was Editor or Co-Editor of several volumes of philosophical studies. In 1975, Jack founded Hume Studies, and served as the Editor of this important scholarly journal for 15 years. In 1992, a special issue of Hume Studies was dedicated to John Davis for his contribution to Philosophy.

I first met Jack in 1976 at the Hume Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was assigned to serve as chair of the session in which I was presenting my paper. After the session, he suggested that my wife, Barbara, and I join him that evening for dinner, and thus began a friendship that lasted through the years. Jack could talk intelligently and at length on any topic, and Barbara and I often commented on how well-read and well-spoken he was. Jack was also extremely street-wise and offered invaluable advice on any number of practical concerns.

Jack will likely best be remembered as the founder and editor of Hume Studies. He cared very much about the quality of scholarship and often told me that his aim was to place Hume Studies among the best scholarly journals in the world. Hume Studies continues to flourish to the present day, and this satisfies one of Jack's enduring goals—to provide a journal where the best of Hume scholarship can be presented by scholars from all over the world. We who have devoted ourselves to Hume scholarship are forever indebted to Jack Davis for bringing Hume Studies into existence for us, and for those who will come after us.

Although Jack Davis was influential as a scholar and Editor, Barbara and I were always struck by his humanity and concern for others. Jack cared deeply about his family, about his students, about his colleagues and friends, about the Arts, and about world affairs. We will miss him very much.

Stanley Tweyman

Watch Out for "hume-mem"!

A new e-mail post list, "hume-mem" has been compiled by the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, as a medium for reaching the membership. Test messages will run on this list at about the same time as the present Bulletin is released, and the list will then be put into regular use.

The "hume-mem" list will not replace other, existing lists. The "hume-mem" address will be a "one-way" address; members will not be able to reply directly either to the sender or to the list. It is therefore not a correspondence or discussion line of any sort. Messages will be sent infrequently, and the load upon recipients will therefore be very light. No one should find this list annoying, but it will of course be possible to unsubscribe (following instructions included with each message).

The list will be used to send important notices from the Executive Committee and/or the Secretary-Treasurer to the general membership. One use of the list will be to inform the membership of the appearance of new issues of the Hume Society Bulletin, which members will be urged to access through the Society’s web page in lieu of receiving the printed Bulletin by mail (see following article).

News About the Hume Society Bulletin

As announced in the Spring issue, the Society will encourage members to receive the Hume Society Bulletin over the Internet and forego the printed, mailed version. Internet distribution of the Bulletin will be accomplished simply by making it available on the Society’s web site (this is already regularly done) and informing members of the arrival of a new issue by e-mail via "hume-mem" (see announcement above). The Bulletin can be downloaded and printed from the web site.

The Bulletin will continue to be produced in a printed version, which will automatically be mailed to members without e-mail service and to others who wish to continue receiving the Bulletin in print. Nevertheless, a very large reduction in the number of printed, mailed copies is expected, and this will save the Society considerable time and money. Costs have risen, and the Society now numbers more than 525 members, which makes the labeling and mailing of the printed Bulletin extremely work-intensive.

If enough members agree to dispense with the printed version, the Bulletin could conceivably come out 3-4 times a year, instead of just twice, without additional work or expense.

Search for Editors for Hume Studies

The Executive Committee is currently conducting an intensive search for editors for Hume Studies, to replace Don Garrett and Ted Morris, whose terms will end with the publication of the April 2000 issue and who have expressed their firm wish—despite urging from the Executive Committee to continue with the outstanding job which they have been doing—to put the journal into new hands. The new editors should start reviewing journal submissions in the Fall of 1999. Editors are responsible for ensuring that Hume Studies meets the highest standards of scholarship and for promoting its reputation within the academic community. Their home institutions are expected to subsidize "general operating expenses" for the journal which, during the term of the current editors, has amounted to providing graduate student assistants and office space. Proposals from the membership will be most welcome!

Hume Studies: Recent News

Latest issue in Press. The latest number of Hume Studies is currently in press and will soon be mailed out to members. Please note that this is the November 1997 number, and will thus be sent only to members whose dues were paid up in 1997. If you joined the Society this year, or if your dues for 1997 are not paid up, you will not automatically receive this number of Hume Studies.

Hume Studies to be Included in Poiesis Project. After much debate, the Executive Committee has contracted with the Philosophical Documentation Center (PDC) to include Hume Studies in the Poiesis project for on-line journals. This means that there will be access to our journal on the web. Various levels of service are offered. The two lowest levels of service—those now contracted for—will make available the tables of contents of Hume Studies and will permit keyword searches in the texts of back issues. Such searches will yield the keywords in their surrounding paragraphs. It will not be possible to call up full articles, and the Executive Committee is not now contemplating any move to higher levels of service, which would permit more extensive access to texts.

The contract is cost-free to the Society and is non-exclusive; that is, it does not prevent the Society from providing its own on-line access to Hume Studies or from contracting with other parties to provide similar service. PDC and its associates pay the costs of scanning and transcribing back issues of Hume Studies and preparing the material for the on-line database.

The on-line service will be available to Poiesis subscribers only. Members of the Hume Society do not receive this service as a benefit of membership. Academic libraries are likely to subscribe, as it provides on-line access to a large number of scholarly journals, so many members will be able to use this service through their universities. It is not yet known when Hume Studies will actually be available on line.