Notes on Introduction to Philosophy -- Phil A201
William Jamison - Instructor
Eighth lecture notes for Introduction to Philosophy:
David Hume - 1711-1776
Never literary attempt was more unfortunate than my Treatise of Human Nature. It fell dead-born from the press...
perceptions (following Locke)
lively - impressions
less lively - ideas
all ideas are derived from impressions
Idea of God is merely extrapolation
Explanation: Hume seems to present the logical end result of the empiricistís position. It is in his writings that we can see how a conception of knowledge based on sense perceptions leads to the skeptics position.
Custom and Habits of the Mind
Association of Ideas
contiguity in time or place
cause and effect
Relations of Ideas and Matters of Fact
1st intuitive or demonstrably certain
2nd founded on cause and effect
comes only from experience
Explanation: this argument shows that cause and effect do not have a logically necessary connection. It what sense is there a necessary connection between events contiguous in time and space?
Cause and effect
The mind has never anything present to it but the perceptions, and cannot possible reach any experience of their connection with objects.
Reason is as much a matter of habit as emotion
There is no synthetic a priori
Metaphysics is impossible
Philosophical skepticism is result
Explanation: this appears to be a winning argument!
We refer to ourselves according to habits and customs
there is no "I" that we can experience
we can not have an objective experience of the subject of our experience
practical living is not under question
only philosophical metaphysics is shown to be untenable and useless
therefore: give up metaphysics
Explanation: this also appears to be a winning argument! How do we account for our sense of an enduring self?
Hume on Religion
conservative side - Cleanthes offers a posteriori arguments for God's existence, particularly the design argument:
Machines are produced by intelligent design
Universe resembles a machine
Therefore, the universe was produced by intelligent design
Explanation: these arguments appear to successfully defeat the Cosmological and Teleological arguments for the existence of God.
Hume on Religion
Demea: a priori arguments (Leibniz)
The world contains an infinite sequence of contingent facts;
The explanation of this whole series cannot reside in the series itself;
Therefore, there is a necessary substance which produced this infinite series, and which is the complete explanation of its own existence as well.
Hume on Religion
Philo - skeptic against both:
design argument - faulty analogy: we don't know whether the order in nature was the result of design since we did not witness the formation of the world.
cosmological argument - a sufficient explanation for each particular fact in the infinite sequence of facts leaves no need to inquire about the origin of the collection of these facts.
This page is maintained by William S.
Jamison. It was last updated July 10, 2016. All links on these pages are
either to open source or public domain materials or they are marked with the
appropriate copyright information. I frequently check the links I have made to
other web sites but each source is responsible for their own content.