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: Hume is regarded as an empiricist; but he should be seen as Empiricism's greatest critic. Discuss - Essay Example

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Defining a philosopher as belonging to a particular school of thought can be tricky, since the acquisition of knowledge itself is a complex study. Hume, as generally understood,…
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: Hume is regarded as an empiricist; but he should be seen as Empiricism's greatest critic. Discuss

tual observance and scientific method, Hume insists, “We cannot rely on the common-sense pronouncements of popular superstition, which illustrate human conduct without offering any illumination...”1 As the definition of empiricism suggests: experience, especially of the senses, is the true source of knowledge, and as logical conclusion, all other forms of knowledge attained in other ways must be at the very least suspect.
Pragmatism [that claims that ‘knowledge’ and ‘truth’ and ‘foundations’ are diversions, and that we simply need to produce theory that works] and Rationalism (that claims there are innate [non-empirical] faculties of reason that constitute the foundations of theoretical and empirical knowledge] are viewpoints latent but not central to Hume’s analysis of ‘Empiricism’ expounded in his Treatise on Human Nature and The Enquiries.
Countering Hume’s empiricist approach, both epistemologies concern themselves with the nature and scope [limitations] of knowledge which addresses the following: what is knowledge? how is knowledge acquired? what do people know and how we know it? Pragmatist C.S. Peirce scrutinized Hume’s empirical theories in relationship to miracles as counter-intuitive.
In effect, Hume’s argument against “miracles” amounts to what C.S. Peirce typically calls a “pooh-pooh” argument.  A “pooh-pooh” argument is a limited form of induction that consists in denying improbabilities.  This may seem hardly like an argument or reasoning at all, but Peirce includes it as a crude or rudimentary form of induction because it possesses the self-corrective tendency characteristic of induction.2 As Peirce articulates it in 1903, “The first order of induction, which I will call Rudimentary Induction, or the Pooh-pooh argument, proceeds from the premise that the reasoner has no evidence of the existence of any fact of a given description and concludes that there never was, is not, and never will be any such ... Read More
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