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David Hume PowerPoint Presentation

David Hume

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David Hume

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  1. David Hume Brian Bender

  2. Life • Born as David Home in 1711 • Attended University of Edinburgh at 12 • Hated everything besides Philosophy and general education • Worked at a merchant’s office and spent four years writing A Treatise on Human Nature • Haters gonna hate, but continued to write other works • The History of England • Charged with heresy, but acquitted • Became famous as a historian

  3. Notable Works • A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40) – first book that concerned understanding, emotions, and morals • An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748) – A simplification of the first part of the Treatise • An Enquiry Concerning the Principle of Morals (1751) – A simplification of the third part of the Treatise • The History of England (1754-62) – six volume work that spanned from invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution of 1688

  4. Ideas • Empiricist • Argued against existence of innate ideas • Humans only have knowledge of things they directly experience • Divided perceptions into impressions and ideas • Mental behavior governed by custom • Ex: our use of induction is only justified by our constant conjunction of cause and effect

  5. The Problem of Induction • Questions whether induction leads to knowledge • Generalizing characteristics of a class of objects based on a number of specific observations • Proposing that things will occur a certain way in the future because of observations in the past • Causal relations are found by induction, not reason • Explained in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

  6. Bundle Theory • The self is nothing but a bundle of interconnected perceptions. • An object is nothing more than its properties • An object cannot be without properties, nor can it be conceived of. • Objects are a collection of properties, and the self is a bundle of perceptions of these properties.

  7. Reason • Anti-rationalist • Belief rather than reason governed human nature • “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.”

  8. Hume’s Fork • Dilemma of Determinism – our actions are either random or determined and we cannot be responsible • Distinction between “is” and “ought” • Distinction between demonstrative and probable reasoning • Statements divided into two categories: • 1. Statements about ideas • 2. Statements about the world • He wanted to prove that certainty does not exist in science.

  9. Miracles • Miracles should only be believed if it is more unbelievable for it to have to occurred. • Arguments against miracles: • People often lie. • People like telling stories of miracles without caring if they’re true. • Most miracles occur in ignorant and barbaric nations and times. • Miracles of certain religions argue against those of others. • However, the laws of nature are only the culmination of past experiences, so they cannot be taken as completely true.

  10. Design argument • Argued that order of universe did not have to originate from design • To deduce that the universe is designed, we would need to have an experience of a range of different universes, which we cannot • If we accept that the universe requires design, then the designer requires a designer • Not X has F to do O. • More like X would not be around without F and O is only a projection of human goals onto nature

  11. Later Life • Met and had a falling out with Rousseau • Became the Under Secretary of State for the Northern Department • Settled back in Edinburgh • Died of either bowel or liver cancer in 1776