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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, the history of Modern philosophy, 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, building and renovating houses and furniture, or enjoying the 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 forthcoming) 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, August 2019

Tamás Demeter and Krisztián Pete, HOPOS, forthcoming

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.


Spring 2019


This course will consist of two parts. For roughly the first half of the semester we will undertake a close philosophical reading of Book I of Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature with a focus on Hume’s theory of mental representation and his methodology in pursuing the science of human nature. For the second half of the semester we will read through Lady Mary Shepherd’s critique of Hume: An Essay upon the Relation of Cause and Effect.

Seminar on Philosophical Writing

In this course we will study the advanced analytic, interpretive, and expressive skills essential to the writing of philosophy.

Summer 2019

Late Modern Philosophy

In this course we will consider a series of issues of central concern to philosophers in middle and late stages of what we have come to call the modern period. For each topic we will consider how different figures of the period treated that topic and each others’ views on it. Topics may include among others: mental representation, substance, causation, the self, philosophical first principles and methodology, and the distinction between primary and secondary qualities. Figures may include among others: Leibniz, Hume, Shepherd, Kant, and Hegel. All students, graduate or advanced undergraduate, who have taken PHIL 303: Modern Philosophy (or its equivalent) are welcome in the course, and should find themselves well prepared for it.

Fall 2019


This course will take the form of a close reading of selections from Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Topics may include among others: mental representation, first principles, the self, the external world, necessary connection, substance, space, time, quantity, quality, and modality.

Seminar on Philosophical Writing

In this course we will study the advanced analytic, interpretive, and expressive skills essential to the writing of philosophy.

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

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

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