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Reviews 0. Updating Results. If you wish to place a tax exempt order please contact us. In Hume accepted an invitation from General St Clair to attend him as secretary. He wore the uniform of an officer, and accompanied the general on an expedition against Canada which ended in an incursion on the coast of France and to an embassy post in the courts of Vienna and Turin.
Because of the success of his Essays , Hume was convinced that the poor reception of his Treatise was caused by its style rather than by its content. The work establishes a system of morality upon utility and human sentiments alone, and without appeal to divine moral commands. The same year Hume also published his Political Discourses , which drew immediate praise and influenced economic thinkers such as Adam Smith, William Godwin, and Thomas Malthus.
In Hume sought a philosophy chair at the University of Glasgow, and was again unsuccessful. There, he wrote much of his highly successful six-volume History of England published from to The first volume was unfavorably received, partially for its defense of Charles I, and partially for two sections which attack Christianity. Ultimately, this negative response led Hume to delete the two controversial passages from succeeding editions of the History.
The Natural History appeared in , but, on the advice of friends who wished to steer Hume away from religious controversy, the Dialogues remained unpublished until , three years after his death. The Natural History aroused controversy even before it was made public. Hume also took this opportunity to alter two particularly offending paragraphs in the Natural History.
The essays were then bound with the new title Four Dissertations and distributed in January, In the years following Four Dissertations , Hume completed his last major literary work, The History of England , which gave him a reputation as an historian that equaled, if not overshadowed, his reputation as a philosopher. In , at age 50, he was invited to accompany the Earl of Hertford to the embassy in Paris, with a near prospect of being his secretary.
Among these was Jean Jacques Rousseau who in was ordered out of Switzerland by the government in Berne. Hume offered Rousseau refuge in England and secured him a government pension. In England, Rousseau became suspicious of plots, and publicly charged Hume with conspiring to ruin his character, under the appearance of helping him.
Hume published a pamphlet defending his actions and was exonerated. Another secretary appointment took him away from In , at age sixty-five, Hume died from an internal disorder which had plagued him for many months. After his death, his name took on new significance as several of his previously unpublished works appeared. The first was a brief autobiography, My Own Life , but even this unpretentious work aroused controversy. As his friends, Adam Smith and S. Again, the response was mixed.
Admirers of Hume considered it a masterfully written work, while religious critics branded it as dangerous to religion. Their reception was almost unanimously negative. Hume begins by dividing all mental perceptions between ideas thoughts and impressions sensations and feelings , and then makes two central claims about the relation between them. That is, for any idea we select, we can trace the component parts of that idea to some external sensation or internal feeling.
This claim places Hume squarely in the empiricist tradition, and he regularly uses this principle as a test for determining the content of an idea under consideration. For example, my impression of a tree is simply more vivid than my idea of that tree. One of his early critics, Lord Monboddo — pointed out an important implication of the liveliness thesis, which Hume himself presumably hides. Most modern philosophers held that ideas reside in our spiritual minds, whereas impressions originate in our physical bodies.
So, when Hume blurs the distinction between ideas and impressions, he is ultimately denying the spiritual nature of ideas and instead grounding them in our physical nature. In short, all of our mental operations—including our most rational ideas—are physical in nature. Hume goes on to explain that there are several mental faculties that are responsible for producing our various ideas. He initially divides ideas between those produced by the memory, and those produced by the imagination. The memory is a faculty that conjures up ideas based on experiences as they happened.
For example, the memory I have of my drive to the store is a comparatively accurate copy of my previous sense impressions of that experience. The imagination, by contrast, is a faculty that breaks apart and combines ideas, thus forming new ones. Hume uses the familiar example of a golden mountain: this idea is a combination of an idea of gold and an idea of a mountain. As our imagination takes our most basic ideas and leads us to form new ones, it is directed by three principles of association, namely, resemblance , contiguity , and cause and effect.
By virtue of resemblance, an illustration or sketch, of a person leads me to an idea of that actual person. The idea of one apartment in a building leads me to think of the apartment contiguous to—or next to—the first. The thought of a scar on my hand leads me to think of a broken piece of glass that caused the scar.
As indicated in the above chart, our more complex ideas of the imagination are further divided between two categories. Some imaginative ideas represent flights of the fancy, such as the idea of a golden mountain; however, other imaginative ideas represent solid reasoning, such as predicting the trajectory of a thrown ball. The fanciful ideas are derived from the faculty of the fancy , and are the source of fantasies, superstitions, and bad philosophy.
By contrast, sound ideas are derived from the faculty of the understanding— or reason—and are of two types: 1 involving relations of ideas; or 2 involving matters of fact. He dramatically makes this point at the conclusion of his Enquiry :.
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When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? Commit it then to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion Enquiry , Principles of reasoning concerning relations of ideas involving demonstration : 1 resemblance; 2 contrariety; 3 degrees in quality; and 4 proportions in quantity or number.
Principles of reasoning concerning matters of fact involving judgments of probability : 5 identity; 6 relations in time and place; and 7 causation. Human understanding and reasoning at its best, then, involves ideas that are grounded in the above seven principles. In his analysis of these issues in the Treatise , he repeatedly does three things. First, he skeptically argues that we are unable to gain complete knowledge of some important philosophical notion under consideration. Second, he shows how the understanding gives us a very limited idea of that notion. Third, he explains how some erroneous views of that notion are grounded in the fancy, and he accordingly recommends that we reject those erroneous ideas.
On the topic of space, Hume argues that our proper notions of space are confined to our visual and tactile experiences of the three-dimensional world, and we err if we think of space more abstractly and independently of those visual and tactile experiences. Following the above three-part scheme, 1 Hume skeptically argues that we have no ideas of infinitely divisible space Treatise , 1. He accounts for this erroneous notion in terms of a mistaken association that people naturally make between visual and tactile space Treatise , 1.
The idea of time, then, is not a simple idea derived from a simple impression; instead, it is a copy of impressions as they are perceived by the mind at its fixed speed Treatise , 1. The psychological account of this erroneous view is that we mistake time for the cause of succession instead of seeing it as the effect Treatise , 1.
According to Hume, the notion of cause-effect is a complex idea that is made up of three more foundational ideas: priority in time, proximity in space, and necessary connection. If B were to occur before A, then it would be absurd to say that A was the cause of B. The broken window and the rock must be in proximity with each other. Priority and proximity alone, however, do not make up our entire notion of causality. For example, if I sneeze and the lights go out, I would not conclude that my sneeze was the cause, even though the conditions of priority and proximity were fulfilled.
We also believe that there is a necessary connection between cause A and effect B. During the modern period of philosophy, philosophers thought of necessary connection as a power or force connecting two events. When billiard ball A strikes billiard ball B, there is a power that the one event imparts to the other. In keeping with his empiricist copy thesis, that all ideas are copied from impressions, Hume tries to uncover the experiences which give rise to our notions of priority, proximity, and necessary connection.
The first two are easy to explain. Priority traces back to our various experiences of time. Proximity traces back to our various experiences of space. But what is the experience which gives us the idea of necessary connection? We have no external sensory impression of causal power when we observe cause-effect relationships; all that we ever see is cause A constantly conjoined with effect B.
Neither does it arise from an internal impression, such as when we introspectively reflect on willed bodily motions or willing the creation of thoughts. These internal experiences are too elusive, and nothing in them can give content to our idea of necessary connection. This produces a habit such that upon any further appearance of A, we expect B to follow. He explains this mistaken belief by the natural tendency we have to impute subjectively perceived qualities to external things Treatise , 1.
His explanation is lengthy, but involves the following features. Perceptions of objects are disjointed and have no unity in and of themselves Treatise , 1. We then conflate all ideas of perceptions , which put our minds in similar dispositions Treatise , 1. Consequently, we naturally invent the continued and external existence of the objects or perceptions that produced these ideas Treatise , 1. Lastly, we go on to believe in the existence of these objects because of the force of the resemblance between ideas Treatise , 1. Although this belief is philosophically unjustified, Hume feels he has given an accurate account of how we inevitably arrive at the idea of external existence.
The psychological motivation for accepting this view is this: our imagination tells us that resembling perceptions have a continued existence, yet our reflection tells us that they are interrupted. Appealing to both forces, we ascribe interruption to perceptions and continuance to objects Treatise , 1. Because of the associative principles, the resemblance or causal connection within the chain of my perceptions gives rise to an idea of myself, and memory extends this idea past my immediate perceptions Treatise , 1.
These motives produce actions that have the same causal necessity observed in cause-effect relations that we see in external objects, such as when billiard ball A strikes and moves billiard ball B. In the same way, we regularly observe the rock-solid connection between motive A and action B, and we rely on that predictable connection in our normal lives. Suppose that a traveler, in recounting his observation of the odd behavior of natives in a distant country, told us that identical motives led to entirely different actions among these natives.
In business, politics, and military affairs, our leaders expect predicable behavior from us insofar as the same motives within us will always result in us performing the same action. A prisoner who is soon to be executed will assume that the motivations and actions of the prison guards and the executioner are so rigidly fixed that these people will mechanically carry out their duties and perform the execution, with no chance of a change of heart Treatise , 2. One explanation is that people erroneously believe they have a feeling of liberty when performing actions. In the Treatise Hume rejects the notion of liberty completely.
In the Enquiry , however, he takes a more compatiblist approach. Nothing in this definition of liberty is in conflict with the notion of necessity. In all of the above discussions on epistemological topics, Hume performs a balancing act between making skeptical attacks step 1 and offering positive theories based on natural beliefs step 2.
In the conclusion to Book 1, though, he appears to elevate his skepticism to a higher level and exposes the inherent contradictions in even his best philosophical theories. He notes three such contradictions. One centers on what we call induction. Our judgments based on past experience all contain elements of doubt; we are then impelled to make a judgment about that doubt, and since this judgment is also based on past experience it will in turn produce a new doubt. Once again, though, we are impelled to make a judgment about this second doubt, and the cycle continues. One is our natural inclination to believe that we are directly seeing objects as they really are, and the other is the more philosophical view that we only ever see mental images or copies of external objects.
The third contradiction involves a conflict between causal reasoning and belief in the continued existence of matter. After listing these contradictions, Hume despairs over the failure of his metaphysical reasoning:. The intense view of these manifold contradictions and imperfections in human reason has so wrought upon me, and heated my brain, that I am ready to reject all belief and reasoning, and can look upon no opinion even as more probable or likely than another [ Treatise , 1.
He then pacifies his despair by recognizing that nature forces him to set aside his philosophical speculations and return to the normal activities of common life. He sees, though, that in time he will be drawn back into philosophical speculation in order to attack superstition and educate the world. However, during the course of his writing the Treatise his view of the nature of these contradictions changed.
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At first he felt that these contradictions were restricted to theories about the external world, but theories about the mind itself would be free from them, as he explains here:. The essence and composition of external bodies are so obscure, that we must necessarily, in our reasonings, or rather conjectures concerning them, involve ourselves in contradictions and absurdities. But as the perceptions of the mind are perfectly known, and I have us'd all imaginable caution in forming conclusions concerning them, I have always hop'd to keep clear of those contradictions, which have attended every other system [ Treatise , 2.
When composing the Appendix to the Treatise a year later, he changed his mind and felt that theories about the mind would also have contradictions:. I had entertained some hopes, that however deficient our theory of the intellectual world might be, it wou'd be free from those contradictions, and absurdities, which seem to attend every explication, that human reason can give of the material world.
But upon a more strict review of the section concerning I find myself involv'd in such a labyrinth, that, I must confess, I neither know how to correct my former opinions, nor how to render them consistent. If this be not a good general reason for scepticism, 'tis at least a sufficient one if I were not already abundantly supplied for me to entertain a diffidence and modesty in all my decisions [ Treatise , Appendix].
Thus, in the Treatise , the skeptical bottom line is that even our best theories about both physical and mental phenomena will be plagued with contradictions. In the concluding section of his Enquiry , Hume again addresses the topic of skepticism, but treats the matter somewhat differently: he rejects extreme skepticism but accepts skepticism in a more moderate form.
He associates extreme Pyrrhonian skepticism with blanket attacks on all reasoning about the external world, abstract reasoning about space and time, or causal reasoning about matters of fact. Like many philosophers of his time, Hume developed a theory of the passions—that is, the emotions —categorizing them and explaining the psychological mechanisms by which they arise in the human mind. His most detailed account is in Book Two of the Treatise. Passions, according to Hume, fall under the category of impressions of reflection as opposed to impressions of sensation.
He opens his discussion with a taxonomy of types of passions, which are outlined here:. He initially divides passions between the calm and the violent. He concedes that this distinction is imprecise, but he explains that people commonly distinguish between types of passions in terms of their degrees of forcefulness. Adding more precision to this common distinction, he maintains that calm passions are emotional feelings of pleasure and pain associated with moral and aesthetic judgments.
For example, when I see a person commit a horrible deed, I will experience a feeling of pain. When I view a good work of art, I will experience a feeling of pleasure. In contrast to the calm passions, violent ones constitute the bulk of our emotions, and these divide between direct and indirect passions.
For Hume, the key direct passions are desire, aversion, joy, grief, hope, and fear. For example, if I consider an unpleasant thing, such as being burglarized, then I will feel the passion of aversion. Others, though, are not connected with instinct and are more the result of social conditioning. There is an interesting logic to the six direct passions, which Hume borrowed from a tradition that can be traced to ancient Greek Stoicism.
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We can diagram the relation between the six with this chart:. Compare, for example, the passions that I will experience regarding winning the lottery vs. I will then desire to win the lottery and have an aversion towards being burglarized. Suppose that both situations are actually before me; I will then experience joy over winning the lottery and grief over being burglarized.
Suppose, finally, that I know that at some unknown time in the future I will win the lottery and be burglarized. I will then experience hope regarding the lottery and fear of being burglarized. Hume devotes most of Book 2 to an analysis of the indirect passions, his unique contribution to theories of the passions.
The four principal passions are love, hate, pride, and humility. Suppose, for example, that I paint a picture, which gives me a feeling of pleasure. Since I am the artist, I will then experience an additional feeling of pride. He explains in detail the psychological process that triggers indirect passions such as pride.
Specifically, he argues that these passions arise from a double relation between ideas and impressions, which we can illustrate here with the passion of pride:. Through the associative principle of resemblance, I then immediately associate this feeling of pleasure with a resembling feeling of pride this association constitutes the first relation in the double relation.
According to Hume, the three other principal indirect passions arise in parallel ways. Reason, he argues, is completely inert when it comes to motivating conduct, and without some emotion we would not engage in any action. Critics of religion during the eighteenth-century needed to express themselves cautiously to avoid being fined, imprisoned, or worse. Sometimes this involved placing controversial views in the mouth of a character in a dialogue. Other times it involved adopting the persona of a deist or fideist as a means of concealing a more extreme religious skepticism.
Hume used all of the rhetorical devices at his disposal, and left it to his readers to decode his most controversial conclusions on religious subjects.vaabacksimpperjass.tk
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During the Enlightenment, there were two pillars of traditional Christian belief: natural and revealed religion. Hume attacks both natural and revealed religious beliefs in his various writings. In a letter to Henry Home, Hume states that he intended to include a discussion of miracles in his Treatise , but ultimately left it out for fear of offending readers. It is probably this main argument to which Hume refers. The first of this two-part essay contains the argument for which Hume is most famous: uniform experience of natural law outweighs the testimony of any alleged miracle.
Let us imagine a scale with two balancing pans. In the first pan we place the strongest evidence in support of the occurrence of a miracle. In the second we place our life-long experience of consistent laws of nature. According to Hume, the second pan will always outweigh the first. He writes:. It is experience only, which gives authority to human testimony [regarding miracles]; and it is the same experience, which assures us of the laws of nature. When, therefore, these two kinds of experience are contrary, we have nothing to do but subtract the one from the other, and embrace an opinion, either on one side or the other, with that assurance which arises from the remainder.
But according to the principle here explained, this subtraction, with regard to all popular religions, amounts to an entire annihilation [ Enquiry , Regardless of how strong the testimony is in favor of a given miracle, it can never come close to counterbalancing the overwhelming experience of unvaried laws of nature. But even if a miracle testimony is not encumbered by these four factors, we should still not believe it since it would be contrary to our consistent experience of laws of nature.
He concludes his essay with the following cryptic comment about Christian belief in biblical miracles:. Mere reason is insufficient to convince us of its veracity: And whoever is moved by Faith to assent to it, is conscious of a continued miracle in his own person, which subverts all the principles of his understanding, and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience [ Enquiry , At face value, his comment suggests a fideist approach to religious belief such as what Pascal recommends.
That is, reason is incapable of establishing religious belief, and God must perform a miracle in our lives to make us open to belief through faith.
It is one of the first systematic attempts to explain the causes of religious belief solely in terms of psychological and sociological factors. Whence could the religion and laws of this people [i. According to Adams, only divine intervention can account for the sophistication of the ancient Jewish religion. The work may be divided into three parts.
In the first Sections 1 and 4 , Hume argues that polytheism, and not monotheism, was the original religion of primitive humans. Monotheism, he believes, was only a later development that emerged with the progress of various societies. The standard theory in Judeo-Christian theology was that early humans first believed in a single God, but as religious corruption crept in, people lapsed into polytheism.
Hume was the first writer to systematically defend the position of original polytheism. In the second part Sections , , Hume establishes the psychological principles that give rise to popular religious belief. His thesis is that natural instincts—such as fear and the propensity to adulate—are the true causes of popular religious belief, and not divine intervention or rational argument. The third part of this work Sections compares various aspects of polytheism with monotheism, showing that one is no more superior than the other.
Both contain points of absurdity. From this he concludes that we should suspend belief on the entire subject of religious truth. As the title of the work implies, it is a critique of natural religion, in contrast with revealed religion. There are three principal characters in the Dialogues. Finally, a character named Philo, who is a religious skeptic, argues against both the design and causal arguments. The specific version of the causal argument that Hume examines is one by Samuel Clarke and Leibniz before him.
Simplistic versions of the causal argument maintain that when we trace back the causes of things in the universe, the chain of causes cannot go back in time to infinity past; there must be a first cause to the causal sequence, which is God. Nevertheless, Clarke argued, an important fact still needs to be explained: the fact that this infinite temporal sequence of causal events exists at all. Why does something exist rather than nothing?
God, then, is the necessary cause of the whole series. In response, the character Cleanthes argues that the flaw in the cosmological argument consists in assuming that there is some larger fact about the universe that needs explaining beyond the particular items in the series itself. Once we have a sufficient explanation for each particular fact in the infinite sequence of events, it makes no sense to inquire about the origin of the collection of these facts.
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That is, once we adequately account for each individual fact, this constitutes a sufficient explanation of the whole collection. The specific version of the argument that Hume examines is one from analogy, as stated here by Cleanthes:. The curious adapting of means to ends, throughout all nature, resembles exactly, though it much exceeds, the productions of human contrivance; of human designs, thought, wisdom, and intelligence. Since, therefore, the effects resemble each other, we are led to infer, by all the rules of analogy, that the causes also resemble; and that the Author of Nature is somewhat similar to the mind of man Dialogues , 2.
Philo presents several criticisms against the design argument, many of which are now standard in discussions of the issue. According to Philo, the design argument is based on a faulty analogy: we do not know whether the order in nature was the result of design, since, unlike our experience with the creation of machines, we did not witness the formation of the world. Further, the vastness of the universe also weakens any comparison with human artifacts.
Although the universe is orderly here, it may be chaotic elsewhere. Similarly, if intelligent design is exhibited only in a small fraction of the universe, then we cannot say that it is the productive force of the whole universe. And even if the design of the universe is of divine origin, we are not justified in concluding that this divine cause is a single, all powerful, or all good being. He opens his discussion in the Treatise by telling us what moral approval is not : it is not a rational judgment about either conceptual relations or empirical facts.
If morality is a question of relations, then the young tree is immoral, which is absurd. Hume also argues that moral assessments are not judgments about empirical facts. You will not find any such fact, but only your own feelings of disapproval. In this context Hume makes his point that we cannot derive statements of obligation from statements of fact.
This move from is to ought is illegitimate, he argues, and is why people erroneously believe that morality is grounded in rational judgments. Thus far Hume has only told us what moral approval is not, namely a judgment of reason. So what then does moral approval consist of? It is an emotional response, not a rational one. The details of this part of his theory rest on a distinction between three psychologically distinct players: the moral agent, the receiver, and the moral spectator.