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What are some of your earliest memories? Are they of colors, sounds, smells, tastes? Some...experience?
Two Principles of the Understanding
1. Impressions - "I mean all our more lively perceptions, when we hear or see or feel or love or hate or desire or will." (166)
2. Ideas - "The less lively perceptions, of which we are conscious when we reflect on any of those sensations or movements mentioned above." (166)
3. Impressions and Ideas may be either "simple" or "complex."
A position, taken by philosophers, in which they maintain that all knowledge begins as sense experience and the collection of sense data/information.
~Genius/Attended College in his teens.
~"A Treatise of Human Nature" was discounted by mainstream philosophers of his day.
~Hume tried to distance himself from this work during his lifetime! In contemporary Philosophy, it is one of the most highly regarded works of all time.
~Admitted (fairly openly) to atheism.
~Rejects Cartesian "clearness and distinctness as criteria for knowledge - embraces Empiricism.
1. "Whatever objects are different are
*regarding first hand experience
2. "Whatever objects are distinguishable
are separable by thought and
If there is no sense experience we can call "causality," then is it something we know with "Logical Necessity" (Like the Cartesian "Cogito")?
"I shall venture to affirm as a general proposition which admits of no exception, that the knowledge of this relation (causation) is not, in any instance, attained by reasonings a priorie but arises entirely from experience, when we find that any particular objects are constantly conjoined with each other" (169)
Beyond the Definition:
Strict empiricism limits
knowledge to what each of us have first-hand experience of; people are without any "knowledge" at birth and gain knowledge as they gain experience (Blank Slates).
*This means that different/distinguishable objects
cannot be logically dependent on one another.
...Do we ever actually experience "causation" with our senses?
Are relations between things something we experience with our senses?
If causation is not anything about which we can possess knowledge, then what? What CAN we know?
The Problem Hume leaves us with...
Copy Theory of Ideas:
"We may prosecute this inquiry to what length we please, where we shall always find that every idea which we examine is copied from a similar impression." (167)
*Hume challenges us to prove him wrong; is there any simple idea that did not begin as an impression?
This is an example (kind of) of what Hume is talking about...each frame means something independently of the others....but our "minds" (here, the video camera) put the images together to mean something more....These are: "COMPLEX IDEAS."
Are a Cause and Effect necessarily related?
(BBC video - Introduces Hume's Impressions and Ideas):
*Based on definitions, why did the video commentator suggest we cannot trust our "Ideas" b/c we cannot trust the impressions they are based on? Can it be true, that even with empirical evidence, we still possess no KNOWLEDGE?
What about "friendship," "love," "comparisons" between things, etc....
How can we know that one thing causes another?
What is his answer?
(That is...can we KNOW anything about causation?)
How reliable are these "copies"?
"The mind can never possibly find the effect in the supposed cause by the most accurate scutiny and examination. For the effect is totally different from the cause and consequently can never be discovered in it." (170)
"All inferences from experience suppose, as their foundation that the future will resemble the past and that similar powers will be conjoined with similar sensible qualities...It is impossible, therefore, that any arguments from experience can prove this resemblance of the past to the future, since all these arguments are founded on the supposition of that resemblance." (172)
Try close reading this...what is he saying?
"There i some other principle which determines him to form such a conclusion..." (173)
The rest of the text addresses this "conclusion" and what we can do about it...please use the text to determine Hume's answer by Wednesday's class meeting.
So...is he claiming that causation doesn't exist?