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About Me

I am a professor in the Department of Philosophy at San Francisco State University and the author of Kant's Inferentialism and Hume's Science of Human Nature. In addition to Hume and Kant, I also have research interests in the work of Wilfrid Sellars, Lady Mary Shepherd, and Hegel.

I am the very happy father of Madeline and Violet who were born in 2012, not to mention husband of Margo, who was born some years before that.

When I am not doing philosophy, I can be found playing video games (mostly Dark Souls) or enjoying the natural beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area. I have also earned the rank of Life Master from the American Contract Bridge League.

CV here (pdf).


Hume's Science of Human Nature

In Hume's Science of Human Nature: Scientifc Realism, Reason, and Substantial Explanation (Routledge: 2017, paperback 2019) I investigate the philosophical commitments underlying Hume's methodology in pursuing the science of human nature. I there argue that Hume understands scientific explanation as aiming at explaining the inductively-established universal regularites discovered in experience via an appeal to the nature of the substance underlying manifest phenomena.

Reviews and Discussions

Hsueh Qu, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2017.11.24

Miren Boehm, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 57 2 (2019): 350-1

Matias Slavov, Philosophy in Review, 39 3 (August 2019): 137-9

Tamás Demeter and Krisztián Pete, HOPOS, 9 2 (September 2019): 415-19

Emily Kelahan, Hume Studies, forthcoming

Kant's Inferentialism

In Kant's Inferentialism: The Case Against Hume (Routledge: 2015, paperback 2017), I present a systematic interpretation of Kant’s replacement of Hume’s theory of mental representation with an account of concepts as inferential rules. I recast Kant’s understanding of human experience as an essentially normative enterprise aimed at producing a representation of a world of causally-governed material objects.

Reviews and Discussions

Tom Vinci, Kantian Review 22 2 (2017):331-36

Robert Watt, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (2018): 215-18

Timothy Rosenkoetter, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2017.07.12

Tim Jankowiak, Critique

Anil Gomes, Critique

Wilfrid Sellars Notre Dame Lectures 1969-1986


Wilfrid Sellars Notre Dame Lectures 1969-1986. (with Pedro Amaral. Ridgeview, 2018.) During the years covered in this edition, Wilfrid Sellars gave lectures at Notre Dame for the Notre Dame philosophy club from which many subsequent papers were drawn. In addition to extensive Q&A for each lecture, the oral presentation captures a certain spontaneous informality which is absent from Sellars' printed works on the same topic. Sellars' writings are notoriously difficult and obscure but as he puts voice to his words, his philosophical vision comes to life in a way that his published works do not.


Fall 2020


Wilfrid Sellars is the twentieth century’s greatest philosophical thinker. His philosophical system is broad in scope, rich in detail, deep in its internal interconnectedness, and wide in its influence. This course will be a structured introduction to that system. We will investigate topics such as meaning and cognitive content, the relation of language to thought, scientific reasoning and theoretical representation, and the nature of human experience of the world. The course will include reading his most well know work, “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind,” in which he argues against what he dubbed the Myth of the Given, and his detailed engagement with Kant’s philosophical system, Science and Metaphysics, in which he argues that our representation of the natural world is an essentially rule-governed practice that commits us both to conceiving of truth as that which would be represented by scientists at the end of inquiry and to conceiving the experiencing subject as first and foremost the unified subject of practical reasoning.

Seminar on Philosophical Writing

In this course we will study some of the advanced analytic, interpretive, and expressive skills essential to the writing of philosophy. Every week all students will read the assigned texts and submit a reconstruction of an argument from that text. Three times during the semester, students will also write an objection to that week’s argument, to be shared with all students in advance of the weekly class meeting and presented at that meeting. All students will read these objections and come to class prepared to discuss them. The readings for the class will be divided into three units: history of philosophy, value theory, and metaphysics or epistemology.

Recent Courses

Graduate Seminars

Seminar on Philosophical Writing, Sellars, Late Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Human Nature, Hegel, Kant, Hume, Kant and Sellars

Undergraduate Courses

Modern Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophy and Film, Hume and Kant, Being and Knowing, Introduction to Philosophy

Participants can view course materials on iLearn


Where publishers allow it I link to copies of my publications below. My complete CV is here (pdf). Please do not hesitate to contact me (landy@sfsu.edu) for copies of any of my work.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

A Defense of Shepherd's Account of Cause and Effect as Synchronous, Journal of Modern Philosophy, 2, 1 (January 2020)

Kant's Better-than-Terrible Argument in the Anticipations of Perception, Kantian Review 25 1 (March 2020): 77-101

Sellars' Argument for an Ontology of Absolute Processes Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy, (March 2019): 1-25

Is Hume an Inductivist?Hume Studies, 41, 2 (November 2015): 231-61

Recent Scholarship on Hume's Theory of Mental RepresentationEuropean Journal of Philosophy, 26 1 (March 2018): 333-47

A Puzzle about Hume's Theory of General Representation (final draft) Journal of the History Philosophy, 54, 2 (April 2016): 257-82.

A Rebuttal to a Classic Objection to Kant's Argument in the First Analogy History of Philosophy Quarterly, 31, 4 (October 2014): 331-345.

What Incongruent Counterparts Show European Journal of Philosophy, 21, 4 (December 2013): 507-524.

Hume's Theory of Mental Representation Hume Studies, 38, 1 (April 2012): 23-54.

Descartes' Compositional Theory of Mental RepresentationPacific Philosophical Quarterly, 92, 1 (June 2011): 214-231.

Sellars on Hume and Kant on Representing Complexes European Journal of Philosophy, 17, 2 (August 2009): 224-246.

Inferentialism and the Transcendental Deduction Kantian Review, 14, 1 (March 2009): 1-30.

Hegel's Account of Rule-Following Inquiry, 51, 3 (October 2008): 169-192.

A (Sellarsian) Critique of Hume's Theory of Concepts Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 88, 4 (December 2007): 445-457.

Hume's Impression-Idea Distinction Hume Studies, 32, 1 (April 2006): 119-139.

Invited Contributions

Introduction to the Revised Edition In Wilfrid Sellars Notre Dame Lectures Revised Edition: 1969-1986. Edited by Pedro Amaral and David Landy. Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing Company, 2018: 1-18

Sellars and Hume on the Ontological Status of Theoretical-Explanatory Entities Sellars and the History of Modern Philosophy., Eds. Antonio Nunziante and Luca Corti, 2018: 59-78

Scientific Realism without Rigid Designation. Kant e-Prints, 2 11 (January 2016): 70-89

Reply to Gomes and Jankowiak Critique, virtualcritique.wordpress.com

Qualities and Simple Ideas: Hume and his Debt to Berkeley. (with Alan Nelson) Primary and Secondary Qualities: The Historical and Ongoing Debate. Ed. Lawrence Nolan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011: 216-238.

The Premise That Even Hume Must Accept. Self, Language, and World: Problems from Kant, Sellars, and Rosenberg. Eds. Jim O’Shea and Eric Rubenstein. Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing Co., 2010: 28-46.

Book Reviews and Discussions

Constantine Sandis, Character and Causation: Hume’s Philosophy of Action. Journal of the History of Philosophy, forthcoming

Robert Hanna, Cognition, Content, and the A Priori. Critique, virtualcritique.wordpress.com

Robert Hanna, Cognition, Content, and the A Priori. Kantian Review, 21, 2 (July 2016)

Sally Sedgwick, Hegel's Critique of Kant: From Dichotomy to Identity. Kantian Review, 18, 1 (March 2013): 157-162.

James R. O'Shea Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: An Introduction and Interpretation. Notre Dame Philosophical Review, 2012.07.04.


Department of Philosophy

San Francisco State University

1600 Holloway Avenue

San Francisco CA 94132

Office: Humanities 327

Phone: 415.338.3126

Email: landy@sfsu.edu