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Defense Paper: David Hume - Essay Example

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Defense Paper: David Hume

Every person has his own perception of the world, thus, he/she may have his/her own experience. Hume states that we all have our own views and there are no two views which are actually the same. From here Hume derives his attitude towards scientific knowledge. His view of knowledge also raised indignation and misunderstanding among scholars as the philosopher stated that there is nothing certain in our world. This statement calls all the scientific discoveries into question. Thus, the question is how we should understand Hume. The given paper will try to prove that David Hume is right and there is nothing in our world that can be called certain. If to look at Hume’s views carefully we can see that he was undeservingly accused of skepticism. His views are rather logic than skeptical. Hume states that our experience consists of perceptions, which in their turn are divided into impressions (sensations and emotions) and ideas (recollections and images). After the process of perception, a perceiving human being starts to process these ideas. As a result he/she receives some information that we call knowledge but it can be gained only in the process of experience. “Having through these divisions ordered and arranged our subject-matter ·perceptions), we can now set ourselves to consider more accurately their qualities and relations. The first fact that springs to my attention is that our impressions greatly resemble our ideas in every respect except their degree of force and liveliness. Perceptions of one kind seem to be, in a way, reflections of perceptions of the other kind; so that all the perceptions of the mind do double duty, appearing both as impressions and as ideas” (Hume 163). For example, when the first people appeared in the world how did they get to know that they may be burnt by the fire or drown in the water? This could be done only by means of experience received through perceptions. And as there are many perceptions there can be also different experiences, thus nothing is certain. Some scholars, for example Terence Penelhum, state that David Hume is a “victim to a conceptual "muddle"” (cited in Stone 1). Really, it can be admitted that only first people were to make mistakes in order to receive the experience through perceptions, and for the modern people everything is fixed in the textbooks to prevent us from undesirable perception as it is clear that several people drowned before they understood that water can be dangerous. There is a victim that states “let fools learn from their own mistakes and I will learn from the mistakes of others”. However, this victim also can be called a dogma: knowing that people still prefer to learn from their own mistakes as the own experience is the best source of knowledge. Everything is perceived through perception and scientific knowledge should be used as an instruction but it is not a dogma. For example, if a mother tells her child: do not touch a knife, you can injure your finger, a child will listen to her and follow the instruction, but it will not perceive it seriously until injures the finger one day. Here the self-preservation instinct can be involved, but if a mother says: do not throw a cup, because it can be broken, the child will never believe her until at least a couple of cups are really broken. If to read Hume’s statements carefully, we can’t but understand that he also does not state anything for sure. Let’s analyze the phrase “I venture to assert, as true without exception, that knowledge about ...Show more


Name Subject Date The Philosophy of David Hume Thesis Defense Introduction A great number of philosophers tend to explain human knowledge by the existence of reason. Humans are rational beings, thus, they gain knowledge with the help of reason…
Author : roelstokes
Defense Paper: David Hume essay example
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