Monday, May 7, 2012

You Don't Exist. - says David Hume

David Hume (1711-1776)
On May 7, 1711, the great Philosopher David Hume was born. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy as well as the Scottish Enlightenment. In his 'Treatise of Human Nature' (1739), he was about to create a total naturalistic "science of man" examining the psychological basis of human nature. In stark to Descartes, he concluded that desire rather than reason governes human behaviour:
"Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions." (D. Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739)
In the skeptical philosophical tradition Hume argued against the existence of innate ideas, concluding instead that humans only have knowledge of things they directly experience. Thus he divides perceptions between strong and lively "impressions" or direct sensations and fainter "ideas," which are copied from impressions. He developed the position that mental behaviour is governed by "custom"; Without direct impressions of a metaphysical "self," he concluded that humans have no actual conception of the self, only of a bundle of sensations associated with the self.
"Be a philosopher but, amid all your philosophy be still a man." (D. Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)
Kant credited Hume with waking him up from his "dogmatic slumbers" and Hume has proved extremely influential on subsequent philosophy.

At yovisto, we start with David Hume's philosophical point of view in a very brief "Three Minute Philosophy lecture":



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