Hume on Human Being and Human Knowledge Hume is an empiricist and a skeptic. He develops a philosophy that is generally approached in a manner as that of a scientist and therefore he thinks that he can come up with a law for human understanding. Hume investigates the understanding as an empiricist to try and understand the origins of human ideas. Empiricism is the notion that all knowledge comes from experience. Skepticism is the practice of not believing things in nature a priori, but instead investigating things to discover what is really true. Hume does not believe that all a posterior i knowledge is useful, too.
He believes “all experience is useless unless predictive knowledge is possible.” There are various types of skepticism that Hume differentiates, antecedent skepticism from consequent skepticism form his own skepticism that accounts for the limitations of the human kind while at the same time keeps our tendency to be excessive under check. Hume is afraid that a lot of ideas that philosophers talk about are A priori, meaning before experience. He feels that to make a judgment before the actual experience of it, is simply undependable. To further understand this let us look at Hume’s distinction between cause and effect. Hume believes that cause and effect are two completely different and distinct entities. For example, let’s look at fire and paper.
The two are completely different, even if the fire burns the paper. One cannot find an impression of a connection between the fire and the paper burning. For example, let’s take the following propositions: 1. Fire is burning paper. 2. Fire must burn paper.
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3. Fire will burn paper. These are all a priori judgments. In other words, there are no connections between any of them.
Hume does not believe a priori judgments are viable. In fact, he does not even believe all a posterior i judgments are viable, as was noted above. Let us take a moment to talk about Hume’s origin of ideas. Hume believes in the classic theory of the blank slate – that when we are born, we come into the world with no ideas. Impression is an imprint, meaning that it is something outside the mind. Impressions are not a priori.
Consider the mind to be like a ball of wax, knowledge refers to the imprints on the ball of wax. He’s looking for the intrinsic basis. His problem is that scientist and philosophers base knowledge off a priori. If you can trace the idea to the impression then you have the best idea.
If you can’t then the origin is subjective. Primary qualities are not subjective; they are inseparable from the thing itself. The world that is out there, that makes an impression on your mind. Trace the idea to the impression. It is important to note that Hume believes we do not have impressions of the future. There is no empirical evidence that the past to carry on to the future.
If the past has no rule for the future, experience becomes useless. It is then that customs render the future. ” the mind is carried by custom to except heat or cold, and to believe that such a quality does not exist, and will discover itself upon a nearer approach” Belief is not a fiction, it is a sentiment or feeling. There is no empirical knowledge, just belief.
Belief is nothing but a more vivid, lively, forcible, firm, steady conception of an object, than what the imagination alone is ever able to attain. The distinction between belief and fiction “must be excited by nature, like all other sentiments; and must arise from the particular situation, in which the mind is placed at any particular juncture.” Locke argued that substance was the thing itself, a container of qualities. Through reason he claimed a tree is a substance not through the senses, this is rational and sense knowledge. “Pondering Locke, Hume says, .”.. the impressions of reflection resolve themselves into our passions and emotions; none of which can possibly represent a substance. We have no idea of substance, distinct from that of a collection of particular qualities, nor have we any other meaning when either talk or reason concerning it.
... impressions formed during prenatal existence. Thus, even the most abstract ideas, such as power, infinity, identity, and substance ... produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities" (e. g. , taste, colour, ... philosophy, and the Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) aroused the "intellectually ... several important properties innate to the mind. Despite their theoretical differences, ...
Science is concerned with qualities, Some qualities are more important than others. Hume’s real concern is that the basis for uniting the qualities is a priori.” Unlike Locke, Hume on the other hand argues that human beings are a bunch of qualities, and there is no container, simply feels that there is substance. Over all we have discussed Hume on Human being and Human knowledge and have particularly identified his notions of substance, belief, skepticism, impression, and empiricism. In the consideration of man, his approach to trace the idea back to an impression in order to determine its worth is limited, but he has demonstrated the importance of applying method.