Dissection of Hume

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Dissection of Hume

Postby encode_decode » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:45 am

I am starting this thread with the intention of performing a dissection on David Hume - life, philosophy and other peoples thoughts and interpretation on his philosophy.

I want to start by dissecting some items taken from Wikipedia as it is a source of information that many people turn to these days. In particular the part I would think of as the introduction - the bit above the contents.

Wikipedia wrote:who is best known today for his highly influential system of radical philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism

Taken from the first paragraph in the article. Radical seems extreme, but why? It could be that the author of the article is just saying that he turned philosophy on its head or maybe radical just means excellent or just that Hume departed from tradition with his philosophy. I would say Hume departed from tradition.

Wikipedia wrote:Hume strove to create a total naturalistic science of man that examined the psychological basis of human nature. Against philosophical rationalists, Hume held that passion rather than reason governs human behaviour and argued against the existence of innate ideas, positing that all human knowledge is ultimately founded solely in experience

Contained within the second paragraph. Is it possible that maybe passion and reason governs human behaviour?

Wikipedia wrote:In what is sometimes referred to as Hume's problem of induction, he argued that inductive reasoning, and belief in causality, cannot, ultimately, be justified rationally

Beginning of the third paragraph. Why not Mr Hume?

Wikipedia wrote:Hume also influentially denied that humans have an actual conception of the self, positing that we experience only a bundle of sensations, and that the self is nothing more than this bundle of causally-connected perceptions.

Toward the end of the fourth paragraph. A bundle of sensations - interesting - causally-connected perceptions - I think he was on to something here though.

Wikipedia wrote:Hume described his "love for literary fame" as his "ruling passion"

From the second last paragraph. So passion is a driver then.

Wikipedia wrote:Hume has proved extremely influential on subsequent Western thought, especially on utilitarianism, logical positivism, William James, Immanuel Kant, the philosophy of science, early analytic philosophy, cognitive science, theology and other movements and thinkers.

Last Paragraph in the section. I still find myself being influenced by Hume.

Given that I have not performed a proper dissection here, it is fair to say that this post is a conversation starter. From this point I will not draw material from Wikipedia but from the writings of Hume instead and any other historical texts and philosophy that might overlap with Hume's. I am particularly interested in what Hume calls impressions and ideas.
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Re: Dissection of Hume

Postby encode_decode » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:58 am

Treatise of Human Nature
Book I: The Understanding
David Hume


I start looking at Hume hopefully from a fresh perspective . . .

David Hume wrote:I venture to say that here the rule holds without exception: that every simple idea has a simple impression that resembles it, and every simple impression has a corresponding idea.

Hume perceives that complex impressions and ideas are not exact copies of each other.

David Hume wrote:I don’t know how to convince him except by asking him to show • a simple impression that doesn’t have a corresponding idea, or • a simple idea that has no corresponding impression. If he doesn’t answer this challenge—and it’s certain that he can’t—then his silence and our own observation will suffice to establish our conclusion.

It seems upon first glance that Hume is making a distinction between the concepts of impressions and ideas.

I move on to a general proposition that Hume makes . . .

David Hume wrote:I shall here content myself with establishing one general proposition:
    All our simple ideas, when they first appear, are derived from simple impressions which corre-spond to them and which they exactly represent.


I assume at this point the impressions are existing states within a mindset.
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Re: Dissection of Hume

Postby James S Saint » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:58 pm

encode_decode wrote:Treatise of Human Nature
Book I: The Understanding
David Hume


I start looking at Hume hopefully from a fresh perspective . . .

David Hume wrote:I venture to say that here the rule holds without exception: that every simple idea has a simple impression that resembles it, and every simple impression has a corresponding idea.

Hume perceives that complex impressions and ideas are not exact copies of each other.

That would be a non-sequitur on your part.

encode_decode wrote:
David Hume wrote:I don’t know how to convince him except by asking him to show • a simple impression that doesn’t have a corresponding idea, or • a simple idea that has no corresponding impression. If he doesn’t answer this challenge—and it’s certain that he can’t—then his silence and our own observation will suffice to establish our conclusion.

It seems upon first glance that Hume is making a distinction between the concepts of impressions and ideas.

Yes, obviously he is making such a distinction. But is the rationale that he proposed valid?
I think not.

Hume tends to naively fall into the fallacy of "if I can't envision it not being true, then it must be true".

encode_decode wrote:
David Hume wrote:I shall here content myself with establishing one general proposition:
    All our simple ideas, when they first appear, are derived from simple impressions which corre-spond to them and which they exactly represent.


I assume at this point the impressions are existing states within a mindset.

I suspect that he is trying to say that simple intuitive notions ("impressions") can be represented by cognitive concepts (ideas) and vsvrsa. It is a common thought that all ideas, concepts, and thoughts spring forth from instinctive and intuitive sensations. Such a thought leads to the over generalized notion that material reality dictates thought. The truth of that situation is more complicated.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
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Re: Dissection of Hume

Postby encode_decode » Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:06 am

Ah yes James S Saint, I have always found you to be a worthy interlocutor.

8)

James S Saint wrote:That would be a non-sequitur on your part.

Whoops . . . you are indeed correct.

James S Saint wrote:Yes, obviously he is making such a distinction. But is the rationale that he proposed valid?
I think not.

Hume tends to naively fall into the fallacy of "if I can't envision it not being true, then it must be true".

I am inclined to agree - I did read something similar that indicates what you are saying - my fresh perspective is going to require some revision here.

James S Saint wrote:I suspect that he is trying to say that simple intuitive notions ("impressions") can be represented by cognitive concepts (ideas) and vsvrsa. It is a common thought that all ideas, concepts, and thoughts spring forth from instinctive and intuitive sensations. Such a thought leads to the over generalized notion that material reality dictates thought. The truth of that situation is more complicated.

Indeed "The truth of that situation is more complicated" and the rest of this closing paragraph will give rise to consideration on my part, of what you have stated here for the next couple of days. My only hope is I come back with something significant enough for you to respond to.

Either way thank you for getting my train of thought really started in this.

:D
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