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David Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding - Essay Example

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David Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

On the other hand, Hume tells of ideas as being part of a copy principle from impressions, which means that ideas are derived from impressions and they directly correspond to the impression from which they are derived, to create a complete image of both. This he goes to state that ideas are thoughts, beliefs or memories that are directly connected to our memories, which may not serve as much of a distinction between the two, as it ties or binds the two aspects tightly. This is to mean that we construct ideas from impressions, where the mind looks at three crucial factors prior to generating an idea; resemblance, contiguity and effect (Landy 120). In the case of ideas, the issue of the mind using resemblance shows a clear application of impression, especially reflection, to come up with ideas, as it requires the mind to relate to different factors and find the merging point, or even establish the relationship between the two. This is again applied in the case of cause and effect as it requires one to establish the relationship between two or more aspects in order to comprehend how they affect each other. This application requires the use of sensation and reflection, which are both aspects of impression, to generate ideas crucial for any part of thinking. Hume also shows a difference between the two by the use of the earlier mentioned vivacity, where impressions are far much stronger as compared to ideas. This is because impressions are real and occur as first hand experiences, before they are played by the mind to retrieve ideas through reflection, which makes impressions more powerful than ideas. Another difference provided between impressions and ideas is that it man is liable to have difficulty in distinguishing between ideas and will even make mistakes about ideas. This, however, does not apply to impressions or is rather difficult to face, as impressions are highly distinct and can be told apart at any given time based on their powerful nature, and especially the concept of vivacity based on reflection and sensation. In addition, impressions can stand on their own, while ideas do not, but only serve to build further on impressions as an idea enriches what one perceives, but not how it is perceived. This is to mean that ideas assist in the construction of concepts, in which an example of a dog is given, impressions are applied based on direct sensations and ideas are developed, where the mind associates all impressions of a dog and creates an overall impression or idea of what a dog is, as well as its properties (Lacewing 1). In order to back his claim that ideas are copies impressions, Hume goes into the issue of the copy principle, which in the first place is used to distinguish between ideas and impressions. As such, he describes ideas as being dependent on impression, as one cannot construct knowledge or concepts from scratch without a hint of sensation and reflection. This means that one must have an impression of the concept from which ideas are to be developed, as ideas are part of the mental entity impression. With this in mind, Hume supports his claim by stating that for ideas to be in existence, there is a ...Show more


Date Ideas and impressions According to Hume, all perceptions in the mind are categorized broadly in two different classes or species, which are then identified from each other based on their vivacity. This, to Hume, is the basis of ideas and conceptions that he speaks of as distinct features or aspects, that be distinguished from one another on a number of aspects…
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David Humes An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding essay example
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