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An “idea” is a less vivid, less forceful, and less lively perception. All ideas are just copies of our impressions. A simple perception is a…A complex perception… 2. Copy Principle – Every idea is a copy of some impression. Two arguments: (1) We cannot think of any idea not originating in a sensation or a feeling. (2) A person without sight lacks the color concepts with which normally sighted people are conversant; a person without smell lacks the odor concepts the rest of us recognize. If we are not susceptible to a particular kind of sensation, we are not susceptible of understanding a corresponding idea. 3. The only connections between impressions and ideas are certain associative mechanisms. These associative mechanisms are resemblance, contiguity in time or place, and cause and effect. Hume’s argument for his thesis is that it is very difficult to prove that these three principles of associations bind our ideas together. All we can do examine our own mind and reflect how our ideas are bounded together.
Section II Idea vs. Sense impressions o The difference is in terms of degrees of force and vivacity o The less forcible and lively are commonly denominated Thoughts or Ideas. o The more lively perceptions are Impressions. Though our thought seems to possess unbounded liberty, it is really confined within very narrow limits, that all this creative power of the mind amounts to no more than the faculty of compounding, transposing, augmenting, or diminishing the materials afforded us by the senses and experience. o Golden mountain – we only join two consistent ideas: gold and mountain. All of our ideas are just copies of our impressions o When we analyze our thoughts or ideas, we always find that they resolve themselves into such simple ideas as were copied from a precedent feeling or sentiment. The idea of God, as meaning an infinitely intelligent, wise, and good Being, arises from reflecting on the operations of our own mind, and augmenting, without limit, those qualities of goodness and wisdom. Those who would assert that this position is not universally true nor without exception, have only one, and that an easy method of refuting it; by producing that idea, which, in their opinion, is not derived from this source. It will then be incumbent on us, if we would maintain our doctrine, to produce the impression, or lively perception, which corresponds to it. o If it happen, from a defect of the organ, that man is not susceptible of any species of sensation, we always find that he is as little susceptible of the correspondent ideas.
every affirmation which is either intuitively or demonstratively certain. and Cause or Effect. o Matters of Fact The contrary of every matter of fact is still possible. o The proof of these principles is difficult to produce o All we can do. By means of that relation alone we can go beyond the evidence of our memory and senses. Algebra. a deaf man of sounds. without dependence on what is anywhere existent in the universe. by opening this new inlet for his sensations. Three principles of connection among ideas: Resemblance. . and closely connected with it. Contiguity in time or place. and examine carefully the principle which binds the different thoughts to each other. from what impression is that supposed idea derived? Section III Simple ideas. comprehended in the compound ones. o Relations of Ideas – Geometry. The hearing of an articulate voice and rational discourse in the dark assures us of the presence of some person: Why? Because these are the effects of the human make and fabric. but arises entirely from experience. because it can never imply a contradiction o All reasoning concerning matter of fact seems to be founded on the relation of Cause and Effect. and Arithmetic. These propositions are discoverable by the mere operation of thought.- A blind man can form no notion of colors. Section IV All the objects of human reason may naturally be divided into two kinds: Relations of Ideas. It is constantly supposed that there is a connection between the present fact and that which is inferred from it. never stopping till we render the principle as general as possible. you also open an inlet for the ideas Shades of color may contradict this maxim. and Matters of Fact. Restore either of them that sense in which he is deficient. in such cases is to run over several instances. but it does merit altering the maxim When we entertain any suspicion that a philosophical term is employed without any meaning or idea (as is but too frequent). The knowledge of this relation is not attained by reasoning a priori. are bound together by some universal principle. when we find that any particular objects are constantly conjoined with each other. we need but enquire.
as the . or any other motion. o A stone or piece of metal raised into the air. could not have inferred from the fluidity and transparency of water that it would suffocate him. or the effects which will arise from it. and left without any support. rather than an upward. but to consider the matter a priori. though his rational faculties be supposed. either the causes which produced it. he will not be able. For the effect is totally different from the cause. ever draw any inference concerning real existence and matter of fact. which it ascribes to the object as its effect. Causes and effects are discoverable. Adam. even suppose motion in the second ball should by accident be suggested to me. o Any man imagine that the explosion of gunpowder. o No object ever discovers. must the mind proceed in this operation? It must invent or imagine some event. immediately falls. The mind can never possibly find the effect in the supposed cause. I beseech you. and were we required to pronounce concerning the effect. which will result from it. without consulting past observation. suffice. by the most accurate examination of its sensible qualities. Were any object presented to us. are known only by experience. When I see a billiard ball moving in a straight line towards another. nor can our reason. to discover any of its causes or effects. is there anything we discover in this situation which can beget the idea of a downward.- Let an object be presented to a man of ever so strong natural reason and abilities. or from the light and warmth of fire that it would consume him. and consequently can never be discovered in it. not by reason but by experience. by the most accurate scrutiny and examination. after what manner. and it is plain that this invention must be entirely arbitrary. or the attraction of a loadstone. at the very first. perhaps. in the stone or metal? o The supposed tie or connection between the cause and effect is arbitrary. o Motion in the second billiard ball is a quite distinct event from motion in the first: nor is there anything in the one to suggest the smallest hint of the other. if that object be entirely new to him. by the qualities which appear to the senses. could ever be discovered by arguments a priori. o All laws of nature. and all operations of bodies without exception. the following reflections may. entirely perfect. unassisted by experience.
and to other objects. and foresee. which. - result of their contact or impulse. like nourishment and support. may I not conceive. It is allowed on all hands that there is no known connection between the sensible qualities and the secret powers. be presented to us. that a hundred different events might as well follow from that cause? May not both these balls remain at absolute rest? May not the first ball return in a straight line or leap off from the second in any line or direction? Why then should we give preference to one. this is the main question on which I would insist. will follow from them o If a body of like color and consistence with that bread. which fell under its cognizance: but why this experience should be extended to future times. that they are founded on the relation of cause and effect. and expect that effects. with certainty. for ought we know. that the mind is not led to form such a conclusion concerning their constant and regular conjunction. It must certainly be allowed. when we see like sensible qualities. by anything which it knows of their nature. similar to those which we have experienced. and consistence of bread. . and consequently. and has afforded us only the knowledge of a few superficial qualities of objects. while she conceals from us those powers and principles on which the influence of those objects entirely depends. that they have like secret powers. which is no more consistent or conceivable than the rest? Part II o What is the nature of all our reasonings concerning matter of fact? The proper answer seems to be. may be only in appearance similar. As to past Experience. and that precise period of time. o What is the foundation of all our reasonings and conclusions concerning that relation? Experience o What is the foundation of all conclusions from experience? Our conclusions from that experience are not founded on reasoning. weight. we make no scruple of repeating the experiment. that nature has kept us at a great distance from all her secrets. Our senses inform us of the color. it can be allowed to give direct and certain information of those precise objects only. which we have formerly eat. or any process of the understanding. but neither sense nor reason can ever inform us of those qualities which fit it for the nourishment and support of a human motion of bodies We always presume.
and that like sensible qualities must always be attended with like secret powers? The consequence seems nowise necessary. that it always is inferred. and an inference. which I formerly eat. that is. endued with such secret powers: but does it follow. I can clearly and distinctly conceive that bodies that resemble snow have the taste of salt or feeling of fire. But if you insist that the inference is made by a chain of reasoning. that other bread must also nourish me at another time. engaged by arguments to put trust in past experience. that other objects. and can be distinctly conceived. and that an object. a body of such sensible qualities was. these arguments must be probable only o . If we be. I have found that such an object has always been attended with such an effect I foresee. That there are no demonstrative arguments in the case seems evident. implies no contradiction. similar. which wants to be explained. and decay in May or June Whatever is intelligible. therefore. since it implies no contradiction that the course of nature may change. that there is a certain step taken. This is the NEGATIVE ANSWER All reasonings may be divided into two kinds: o Demonstrative reasoning. at that time. and can never be proved false by any demonstrative argument or abstract reasoning a priori. may be attended with different or contrary effects. seemingly like those which we have experienced. I desire you to produce that reasoning. nourished me. in fact. I know. or that concerning matter of fact and existence. which are. a process of thought. o I shall allow that the one proposition may justly be inferred from the other. or that concerning relations of ideas o Moral reasoning. and make it the standard of our future judgment. will be attended with similar effects. It is an intelligible proposition to affirm that trees will flourish in December and January. o It must be acknowledged that there is here a consequence drawn by the mind. in appearance. The bread.
From causes which appear similar we expect similar effects. This is the sum of all our experimental conclusions. and other sensible qualities of bread appear not. and that all our experimental conclusions proceed upon the supposition that the future will be conformable to the past. on what process of argument this inference is founded? It is confessed that the color. must be evidently going in a circle. and upon one instance. that we attain a firm reliance and security with regard to a particular event. the proof of this last supposition by probable arguments. and taking that for granted. For otherwise we could infer these secret powers from the first appearance of these sensible qualities. seems the same difficulty. so different from that which it infers from a hundred instances that are nowise different from that single one? Should it be said that. couched in different terms. if this conclusion were formed by reason. But this is not the case. or arguments regarding existence. I must confess. which is the very point in question. therefore. Where is this process of reasoning which. It is only after a long course of uniform experiments in any kind. we infer a connection between the sensible qualities and the secret powers. as after ever so long a course of experience.o We have said that all arguments concerning existence are founded on the relation of cause and effect. of themselves. draws a conclusion. consistence. without the aid of experience. Now it seems evident that. that our knowledge of that relation is derived entirely from experience. . to have any connection with the secret powers of nourishment and support. The question still recurs. All arguments from experience are founded on the similarity which we discover among natural objects. it would be as perfect at first. from a number of uniform experiments. this. from one instance. To endeavor. and by which we are induced to expect effects similar to those which we have found to follow from such objects.
without any change in their sensible qualities. we expect similar powers and forces. resulting from certain objects. and consequently all their effects and influence. in all past instances. Experience only shows us a number of uniform effects. endowed with similar sensible qualities. were endowed with such powers and forces. and contrary to plain matter of fact. But this surely is a step or progress of the mind.” he is not guilty of a tautology. may change. nor are these propositions in any respect the same. When a man says. since all these arguments are founded on the supposition of that resemblance. When a new object. You say that the one proposition is an inference from the other. neither it is demonstrative. and teaches us that those particular objects. . The effect of Custom the repetition of any particular act or operation produces a propensity to renew the same act or operation. therefore. From a body of like color and consistence with bread we expect like nourishment and support. “I have found. But you must confess that the inference is not intuitive. contrary to the sentiment of all philosophers. It is impossible. and look for a like effect. which wants to be explained. that any arguments from experience can prove this resemblance of the past to the future. is produced. at that particular time. without being impelled by any reasoning or process of the understanding. Section V: Part I It is the principle of custom and habit that is responsible for drawing the inference of the existence of one object from the appearance of the other. such sensible qualities conjoined with such secret powers: And when he says. “Similar sensible qualities will always be conjoined with similar secret powers. o Their secret nature.
nor can be commanded at pleasure. Reason is incapable of any such variation. therefore.o o By employing that word. and which is well known by its effects. o Belief is something felt by the mind. We only point out a principle of human nature. This hypothesis seems even the only one which explains the difficulty. could infer that every other body will move after a like impulse. than what the imagination alone is ever able to attain. not of reasoning. that is. different from them. which is universally acknowledged. forcible. in no respect. But no man. o Belief is nothing but a vivid. why we draw. The conclusions which it draws from considering one circle are the same which it would form upon surveying all the circles in the universe. firm. All inferences from experience. we pretend not to have given the ultimate reason of such a propensity. . an inference which is not able to draw from one instance. are effects of custom. Section V: Part II What is the difference between imagination and belief? o It lies in some sentiment or feeling that does not depend on the will. steady conception of an object. lively. which distinguishes the ideas of the judgment from the fictions of the imagination. having seen only one body move after being impelled by another. from a thousand instances.
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