An enquiry concerning human understanding pdf


Sect. I. Of the different Species of Philosophy. 1. Moral philosophy, or the science of human nature, may be treated after two different manners; each of which has. They regard human nature as a subject of theoretical enquiry, and they examine it intently, trying to find the principles that regulate our understanding, stir. Philosophical Essays on Human Understanding, now known as An Enquiry they help to throw on Hume's concerns in An Enquiry concerning Human.

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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Pdf

An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. 1. Of the Different Species of Philosophy. 2. Of the Origin of Ideas. 3. Of the Association of Ideas. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. pp xxxix-xlii · Access. PDF; Export citation. AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING. pp 1- 2.

The Enquiry has, contrary to its author's expressed wishes, long lived in the shadow of its predecessor, A Treatise of Human Nature. This book presents the Enquiry in a fresh light, and aims to raise it to its rightful position in Hume's work and in the history of philosophy. It argues that the Enquiry is not, as so often assumed, a mere collection of watered-down extracts from the earlier work. It is, rather, a coherent work with a unified argument; and, when this argument is grasped as a whole, the Enquiry shows itself to It is, rather, a coherent work with a unified argument; and, when this argument is grasped as a whole, the Enquiry shows itself to be the best introduction to the lineaments of its author's general philosophy. This book offers a careful guide through the argument and structure of the work. It shows how the central sections of the Enquiry offer a critique of the dogmatic empiricisms of the ancient world Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Aristotelianism , and set in place an alternative conception of human powers based on the sceptical principles of habit and probability.

Of the association of ideas[ edit ] In this chapter, Hume discusses how thoughts tend to come in sequences, as in trains of thought. He explains that there are at least three kinds of associations between ideas: resemblance, contiguity in space-time, and cause-and-effect. He argues that there must be some universal principle that must account for the various sorts of connections that exist between ideas.

However, he does not immediately show what this principle might be. Hume 4. Sceptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding in two parts [ edit ] In the first part, Hume discusses how the objects of inquiry are either "relations of ideas" or "matters of fact", which is roughly the distinction between analytic and synthetic propositions.

The former, he tells the reader, are proved by demonstration, while the latter are given through experience. Hume In explaining how matters of fact are entirely a product of experience, he dismisses the notion that they may be arrived at through a priori reasoning. For Hume, every effect only follows its cause arbitrarily—they are entirely distinct from one another.

Hume In part two, Hume inquires into how anyone can justifiably believe that experience yields any conclusions about the world: "When it is asked, What is the nature of all our reasonings concerning matter of fact? When again it is asked, What is the foundation of all our reasonings and conclusions concerning that relation?

Hume's 'Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding'

But if we still carry on our sifting humor, and ask, What is the foundation of all conclusions from experience? Hume Here he is describing what would become known as the problem of induction. Sceptical solution of these doubts in two parts [ edit ] For Hume, we assume that experience tells us something about the world because of habit or custom, which human nature forces us to take seriously. This is also, presumably, the "principle" that organizes the connections between ideas.

Indeed, one of the many famous passages of the Enquiry is on the topic of the incorrigibility of human custom. In Section XII, Of the academical or sceptical philosophy, Hume will argue, "The great subverter of Pyrrhonism or the excessive principles of skepticism is action, and employment, and the occupations of common life. These principles may flourish and triumph in the schools; where it is, indeed, difficult, if not impossible, to refute them.

But as soon as they leave the shade, and by the presence of the real objects, which actuate our passions and sentiments, are put in opposition to the more powerful principles of our nature, they vanish like smoke, and leave the most determined skeptic in the same condition as other mortals.

He explains that the difference between belief and fiction is that the former produces a certain feeling of confidence which the latter doesn't. Hume 6. Of probability[ edit ] This short chapter begins with the notions of probability and chance. For him, "probability" means a higher chance of occurring, and brings about a higher degree of subjective expectation in the viewer.

By "chance", he means all those particular comprehensible events which the viewer considers possible in accord with their experience.

However, further experience takes these equal chances, and forces the imagination to observe that certain chances arise more frequently than others. These gentle forces upon the imagination cause the viewer to have strong beliefs in outcomes. This effect may be understood as another case of custom or habit taking past experience and using it to predict the future.

Hume 1.

An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding

Of the idea of necessary connection in two parts [ edit ] Nicolas Malebranche , one of Hume's philosophical opponents By "necessary connection", Hume means the power or force which necessarily ties one idea to another. He rejects the notion that any sensible qualities are necessarily conjoined, since that would mean we could know something prior to experience.

Unlike his predecessors, Berkeley and Locke, Hume rejects the idea that volitions or impulses of the will may be inferred to necessarily connect to the actions they produce by way of some sense of the power of the will. He reasons that, 1. Hume He produces like arguments against the notion that we have knowledge of these powers as they affect the mind alone. Hume He also argues in brief against the idea that causes are mere occasions of the will of some god s , a view associated with the philosopher Nicolas Malebranche.

Hume Having dispensed with these alternative explanations, he identifies the source of our knowledge of necessary connections as arising out of observation of constant conjunction of certain impressions across many instances. In this way, people know of necessity through rigorous custom or habit, and not from any immediate knowledge of the powers of the will.

Hume 2. Of liberty and necessity in two parts [ edit ] Here Hume tackles the problem of how liberty may be reconciled with metaphysical necessity otherwise known as a compatibilist formulation of free will.

Hume believes that all disputes on the subject have been merely verbal arguments—that is to say, arguments which are based on a lack of prior agreement on definitions. He first shows that it is clear that most events are deterministic, but human actions are more controversial.

However, he thinks that these too occur out of necessity since an outside observer can see the same regularity that he would in a purely physical system. To show the compatibility of necessity and liberty, Hume defines liberty as the ability to act on the basis of one's will e. He then shows quite briefly how determinism and free will are compatible notions, and have no bad consequences on ethics or moral life.

Of the reason of animals comparable to man [ edit ] Hume insists that the conclusions of the Enquiry will be very powerful if they can be shown to apply to animals and not just humans. He believed that animals were able to infer the relation between cause and effect in the same way that humans do: through learned expectations.

An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding - PDF Drive

Hume He also notes that this "inferential" ability that animals have is not through reason, but custom alone. Hume concludes that there is an innate faculty of instincts which both beasts and humans share, namely, the ability to reason experimentally through custom. Nevertheless, he admits, humans and animals differ in mental faculties in a number of ways, including: differences in memory and attention, inferential abilities, ability to make deductions in a long chain, ability to grasp ideas more or less clearly, the human capacity to worry about conflating unrelated circumstances, a sagely prudence which arrests generalizations, a capacity for a greater inner library of analogies to reason with, an ability to detach oneself and scrap one's own biases, and an ability to converse through language and thus gain from the experience of others' testimonies.


Hume , footnote Of miracles in two parts [ edit ] Main article: Of Miracles The next topic which Hume strives to give treatment is that of the reliability of human testimony, and of the role that testimony plays a part in epistemology. This was not an idle concern for Hume. Depending on its outcome, the entire treatment would give the epistemologist a degree of certitude in the treatment of miracles.

True to his empirical thesis, Hume tells the reader that, though testimony does have some force, it is never quite as powerful as the direct evidence of the senses. That said, he provides some reasons why we may have a basis for trust in the testimony of persons: because a human memory can be relatively tenacious; and b because people are inclined to tell the truth, and ashamed of telling falsities.

Needless to say, these reasons are only to be trusted to the extent that they conform to experience. Hume And there are a number of reasons to be skeptical of human testimony, also based on experience. If a testimonies conflict one another, b there are a small number of witnesses, c the speaker has no integrity, d the speaker is overly hesitant or bold, or e the speaker is known to have motives for lying, then the epistemologist has reason to be skeptical of the speaker's claims.

Hume There is one final criterion that Hume thinks gives us warrant to doubt any given testimony, and that is f if the propositions being communicated are miraculous.

Hume understands a miracle to be any event which contradicts the laws of nature. He argues that the laws of nature have an overwhelming body of evidence behind them, and are so well demonstrated to everyone's experience, that any deviation from those laws necessarily flies in the face of all evidence. Hume Moreover, he stresses that talk of the miraculous has no surface validity, for four reasons.

First, he explains that in all of history there has never been a miracle which was attested to by a wide body of disinterested experts. Second, he notes that human beings delight in a sense of wonder, and this provides a villain with an opportunity to manipulate others.

Weekly requirements In order to make the most of the time in class, it is expected that you do some preparation work at home at least 2 hours every week.

More precisely, you are expected to i read carefully the assigned texts see program , ii identify problem areas or questions, and iii note issues you may want to raise during class discussion. I will rely on this regular preparatory work in order to guide the class discussions and ensure everyone's involvement during our weekly meetings. Regular active participation in class discussions is expected for validation. It is warmly encouraged to e-mail or talk to me not later than two weeks before submission if you have doubts regarding the chosen topic, the research question, or to ask for reading suggestions.

For example, since we will discuss section VI on the 2nd November, the deadline for handing in the first-draft essay on that topic will be the 1st November at You should consider 30 hours overall for the first-draft essay preparation and writing. A pass requires 6 points. Essays received after the deadline without previous justification will not be accepted You should consider 30 hours overall for the final-draft essay preparation and writing.

The essay feedback will be given in person during the concluding session of the semester

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