David Hume Essay Research Paper I would

David Hume Essay, Research Paper

I would like to start by stating that the arguments I will present about David

Hume?s ?An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding? are not going to be

leaning completely towards his point of view or against it due to the fact that

I agree with certain views on his philosophy and disagree with others. In ?Of

the Origin of Ideas?, Hume divides all perceptions into two basic kinds:

impressions, which are the ?livelier? and ?more vivid? perceptions; and

ideas, which are ?less lively? copies of the original impression. He gives

some excellent analogies to back this up. For example, he says ?when we think

of a golden mountain, we only join two consistent ideas, gold, and mountain,

with which we were formerly aquainted ?. I consider this point of view to be

completely logical and agree with Hume, but at the same time I?m a little

skeptic about it because he himself gives a counterexample to his own claim that

simple ideas are always copied from impression. In the whole example of

introducing a new shade of color, I disagree with Hume when he states that

?? this instance is so singular, that it is scarcely worth our observing,

and does not merit, that for it alone we should alter our general maxim?

because what if there are other instances where the same thing could happen. Did

he have an infinite amount of time to go through all the possibilities of all

the cases that could happen in an entire lifetime or just generally in life? In

?Sceptical Doubts Concerning the Operations of the Understanding?, he says

that ?all reasoning about matters of fact seem to be founded on the relation

of Cause and Effect? and this was something that I agreed on with him because

if I challenge it and put it to test, it seems to work every time, but he

doesn?t stop there. He says if you agree with the cause and effect concept,

then you must find out how we arrive at the knowledge of cause and effect. Then

his answer to this is that you don?t know the cause and effect of an object

just by looking at it and reasoning a priori, but solely through experience.

This is yet another topic where I agree on, but am skeptic about his conclusion

on it because he is basically saying that nothing should be assumed do to prior

experience and should be challenged at all times. For example, he says ?All

our reasonings a priori will never be able to shew us any foundation for this

preference?, and also that ?It could not, therefore, be discovered in the

cause, and the first invention or conception of it, a priori, must be entirely

arbitrary?. Sure, this would probably be the best way to be certain about a

factual matter, but we as humans are not immortal so I say it would be ludicrous

to go on living life in this frame of mind. I think Hume?s view on cause and

effect is similar to Descartes?? view on reality because they are both super

skeptic about the matter of facts, but a major difference would be that Hume

actually believes in the fact once it has been challenged and Descartes would

doubt everything even if experienced and challenged. Like Hume, Locke believed

that you are born with a blank mind and then through experiences you would gain

knowledge, but there was a difference in the way each viewed this notion. Locke

believed that an object obtained certain qualities or attributes, which were

powers and these powers would then produce the ideas. He also broke these

qualities into two types, which were primary and secondary. The primary were the

simple ideas like solidity, texture, extension, figure, and motion. The

secondary were not in the objects themselves, but were powers to produce color,

sound, taste, and other things of the sort. This seems like a rational way to

look at how one might come to gain knowledge, but I prefer Hume?s way of

thinking a lot better. He says that we obtain all our conclusions from the

principle of ?Custom and Habit?. He describes custom as being the repetition

of any particular act or operation, which produces the tendency to start over

the same act without being influenced by reason. In conclusion about custom, he

says, ? Without the influence of custom, we should be entirely ignorant of

every matter of fact, beyond what is immediately present to the memory and

senses?. This is the statement I like the most because it?s how every human

being lives today whether they realize it or not.


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