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David Hume - Essay Example

om senses, and also not from rational thought. Instead, according to Hume, the idea of self comes from imagination. In turn, imagination stems from causation and memory. To this effect, Hume is of the persuasion that the sole question concerning the creation of self identity is how the elements [contiguity and causation] combine so as to produce the uninterrupted idea of self. In regard to the above, Hume’s intended to mean that ideas are fundamentally ancillary to impressions, including sensory perceptions. In this case, Hume intends to mean that the impressions are the acquired, the lively, forceful and uncontrollable inputs of the senses, imagination and memory. In this case, ideas are taken as the images of the impressions are deemed by Hume as not being accurate, so that he renders them fictitious. Similarly, Hume’s mental existents are all based on the givens of perception, so that he is deemed as a British empiricist. As he uses the term copy to signify the relationship among the relationships which exist among the impressions and the very ideas which are dependent on them, Hume reiterates that complex ideas are based equally on impressions, though one step removed. In the case above, Hume is of the persuasion that a proposition which may not admit of much dispute that all human ideas are merely copies of impressions so that it is impossible to think of anything which has never been antecedently felt by either internal or external senses. To this effect, complex ideas may be known by definition and may be nothing more than an enumeration of parts or simple ideas which composed them (Yolton, 548-50). The significance of Hume’s standpoint above concerning relationship between ideas and impressions is that if an idea is valid or proper, then an individual will be able to relocate the very impressions on which it is based. In the event that no such impressions are found, then the very idea at hand is merely an arbitrary construct of human imagination which may therefore be fictitious, and having nothing extant on what it is based. Again, Hume continues that identity is not reality or a real idea, but a fiction of a person’s imagination. Hume maintains that this is the case since no individual can find an impression from which that identity can be considered a reality. Just as Lamprecht observes, Hume takes the persuasion that all that is given to man is a flow of impressions which are merely individual perceptions. In this light, the concept of unity is then to be premised on a single and unique sensory impression of solitary lump of things that are unchangeable. Because of this, the concept of unity becomes based on perceived uninterruptedness and invariableness of perception. Because of this, Hume is convinced that the principle of individuation is merely uninterruptedness ...Show more


Introduction As a Scottish philosopher, historian, essayist and economist, David Hume (May 7, 1711 – August 25 1776) was well known for his philosophical skepticism and empiricism. Because of his immense output in these fields, Hume is regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of Scottish Enlightenment and Western philosophy, and is normally placed in the same pedestal with George Berkeley and John Locke and other British Empiricists…
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David Hume
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