[hist-analytic] Hume's Fork

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Feb 25 21:22:37 EST 2009

In a previous post I was misled by an online source to believe that "Hume's  
Fork" (the phrase) was coined by R. M. Ayers, Oxford. It seems it was coined,  
rather by A. G. N. Flew, Oxford -- in the 1961 book on  

Hume's Philosophy of Belief: A Study of his  First Inquiry 

-- the whole chapter iii seems to be entitled "Hume's  Fork" (section 54)

"Hume's fork ... indisputably  belongs not to psychology
but to logic".  

If the image is of a devil-looking man with a literal fork deciding  what 
books to burn, I don't think I like the simile.

For the  record:

After the Second World War, A G. N. Flew achieved a first class degree in  
Literae Humaniores at St John's College, Oxford.

While he left Oxford early (and founded analytic-philosophy at Keele) he  
made history with his too influential volumes, "Logic and Language". I don't  
think better compilations than those two were ever published. And it had to be  
Blackwell. OUP was too conservative by then to take a turn in the 'linguistic  



Cohen, E.  "Hume's Fork" Southern JP, vol.  5
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