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Monday, 15 November 2010

David Hume - HCJ

David Hume was an empirical philosopher. Russell gives Hume huge praise in ‘History for Western Philosophy’.

Some Key Hume Points
- Events in the universe are constructed in our minds through our sense experience
- Did not believe in causation in the universe;, and apparent causes are constructed in our minds they do not exist in reality
- Logical Positivists (followers of Hume) feel statements are only worth discussing if they are capable of independent verification. ‘God exists’ can’t be verified and would therefore be classed as not worth discussing.

Impressions and Ideas
Hume states that there are important distinctions between ‘impressions’ and ‘ideas’. They are two kinds of perceptions. Impressions have more force and violence. Hume’s says ‘By ideas I mean the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning’. Ideas (when simple) are like impressions but fainter.
‘Every simple idea has a simple impression, which resembles it and ever simple impression a correspondent idea’.
Russell uses imagining a winged horse as an example - we can imagine one without ever seeing one. It’s explained from Hume’s theory that the constitution of this complex idea is all derived from impressions.
Impressions come first – derived from experience. E.g. – A man born blind has no idea of colours.
Outside is the impressions, inside the brain creates the complex iodeas. Ie - knowledge/thought which is based on the impressions. But you can't trust the impressions and therefore the ideas of which you base everything.

Causation is the relationship between two(or more) events, where one event happens causing another events.
To explain the idea of causation and his feelings against it, Hume uses the example of billiard balls. If a white ball is hit into a red ball and it moves, it is not necessarily the white ball that causes the red ball to move. Hume argues that there is no proof that the white ball causes the movement.
Another example is ‘just because the sun rises today, it doesn’t mean that it will rise tomorrow.
David Hume states that there is no such thing as causation in nature.

Synthetic and Analytic Statements

Analytic – a conclusion can be derived by the subject (self evident).
Eg –‘Bachelors are unmarried’
‘Daisies are flowers’

Synthetic- Verified if the axiomatic statement (axiom = saying that is widely accepted on its own merits) is accepted as truth. Its truth value can only be determined by relying upon observation and experience.
Eg- ‘All men are arrogant’
‘All humans are mortal, I am Human, therefore I am mortal’ – second part cannot be verified unless first part is accepted as truth.

Hume’s believed that pain/heat etc (sense impressions) do not exist in the external world, only in the mind.

Theory of Knowledge
After reading the many philophical books by the philosophers before him, Hume noticed that many of the theories related to objects. David Hume's wanted to put man at the centre of the study of knowledge. He anlaysed his reactions and emotions including starving himself of food to gage the effect or appetite on the brain.
Hume thinks our senses is where we get our knowledge. The brain can then file and connect information.

Bundle Theory
This is Hume's theory that features of objects are all that exist, he refers to them as 'properties'. Ane example would be a granny smith apple, it is not an actual apple but merely a number pof properties that make up an apple - green, shiny, apple shape etc... To justify his claim Hume's asked people to 'imagine an object with no properties' which is not possible.
This must also mean that we are just a bunch of properties which goes against the theory of Descartes(I think, therefore I am).

Is and Ought


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