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Ideas of David Hume, by Text

[British, 1711 - 1776, Born in Edinburgh. Worked for a while in Paris. Author of famous history of Britain. Died in Edinburgh.]

1739 Letters
1754 p.77 That events could be uncaused is absurd; I only say intuition and demonstration don't show this
to Hutcheson 1739 p.109 The idea of a final cause is very uncertain and unphilosophical
to Hutcheson 1739 p.110 All virtues benefit either the public, or the individual who possesses them
to Hutcheson 1740 p.110 Virtues and vices are like secondary qualities in perception, found in observers, not objects
1739 Treatise of Human Nature
p.-1 The idea of inductive evidence, around 1660, made Hume's problem possible
p.11 If one event cause another, the two events must be wholly distinct
p.14 Associationism results from having to explain intentionality just with sense-data
p.73 Modern science has destroyed the Platonic synthesis of scientific explanation and morality
p.74 Momentary impressions are wrongly identified with one another on the basis of resemblance
p.107 For Hume, practical reason has little force, because we can always modify our desires
p.146 Hume seems to presuppose necessary connections between mental events
p.186 For Hume a constant conjunction is both necessary and sufficient for causation
p.232 Hume says objects are not a construction, but an imaginative leap
1.03.16 p.165 Necessity only exists in the mind, and not in objects
1.1.6 p.63 The only meaning we have for substance is a collection of qualities
1.2.2 p.32 Nothing we clearly imagine is absolutely impossible
1.3.1 p.119 Two numbers are equal if all of their units correspond to one another
1.4.3 p.222 Aristotelians propose accidents supported by substance, but they don't understand either of them
1.4.4 p.31 We have no good concept of solidity or matter, because accounts of them are all circular
I.i.7 p.67 If we see a resemblance among objects, we apply the same name to them, despite their differences
I.IV.2 p.159 Both number and unity are incompatible with the relation of identity
I.IV.2 p.159 Viewing an object at an instant, we can have no conception of its identity, but only of its unity
I.IV.2 p.159 If a single object cannot reveal identity then nor can several, because they are seen at different times
I.IV.2 p.160 If we consider an object at two different times, we attribute identity if we perceive unity between them
I.IV.2 p.160 Things are individuated simply by not changing over time
I.IV.2 p.160 We imagine that time is passing when we view something unchanging, and this gives rise to the idea that it has identity
I.IV.6 p.161 We can't have an impression of the Self, because it is the receiver of impressions
I.IV.6 p.162 Introspection always discovers perceptions, and never a Self without perceptions
I.IV.6 p.162 A person is just a fast-moving bundle of perceptions
I.IV.6 p.164 We invent a 'self' to make a continuous reality out of separate perceptions
I.IV.6 p.164 Experience gives us relations between experiences (e.g. of a plant), but the 'identity' is added by the mind
I.IV.6 p.165 If a tiny part is added to an object we think identity is retained, but only because the transition is smooth
I.IV.6 p.165 If identity survives change or interruption, then resemblance, contiguity or causation must unite the parts of it
I.IV.6 p.166 Identity change in objects is relative to observers, as it depends on proportion and speed of change
I.IV.6 p.166 We pretend identity stays the same if purpose and causal interconnection remain the same
I.IV.6 p.167 If interrupted noises and rebuilt churches are the same, identity must be in the mind of the observer
I.IV.6 p.168 If rivers retain identity when the water slowly changes, this must be because of human expectations
I.IV.6 p.168 We imagine a self, but perceptions seem separate, and no principle connects them
I.IV.6 p.169 Personal identity is built up through resemblance and causation
I.IV.6 p.170 The parts of a person are always linked together by causation
I.IV.6 p.170 Resemblance forms continuous mental links, so it must be the basis of our identity
I.IV.6 p.170 Hume gives us an interesting sketchy causal theory of personal identity
I.IV.6 p.170 If a republic can retain identity through many changes, so can an individual
I.IV.6 p.171 Associations are too loose and fading to fix identity, so it is just a linguistic problem
I.IV.6 p.171 We use memory to infer personal actions we have since forgotten
I.IV.6 p.171 Memory only reveals personal identity, by showing cause and effect
I.IV.6 p.171 The unity of consciousness is an illusion
II.III.3 p.460 Reason alone can never be a motive to any action of the will
II.III.3 p.462 Reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions
II.III.ii p.130 Total selfishness is not irrational
III.1.1 p.521 You can't move from 'is' to 'ought' without giving some explanation or reason for the deduction
IV.1.4 p.180 Mathematicians only accept their own proofs when everyone confims them
p.161 p.114 We have no idea of powers, because we have no impressions of them
p.168 p.114 There may well be powers in things, with which we are quite unacquainted
p.311 p.99 The distinction between a power and its exercise is entirely frivolous
p.313 p.99 Power is the possibility of action, as discovered by experience
1740 Treatise of Human Nature, + Appendix
Appen p.2 p.624 Belief is a feeling, independent of the will, which arises from uncontrolled and unknown causes
Bk 3 App. p.115 Experiences are logically separate, but factually linked by simultaneity or a feeling of continuousness
Bk 3 App. p.174 If an oyster had one perception, that would be its identity. Why should further perceptions make a difference?
Bk 3 App. p.175 My theory that the self is associations won't work; we never see the associations
Bk 3 App. p.175 If self is a substance, what happens when the substance changes?
1741 Nine political essays
p.75 Hume thought (unlike Locke) that property is a merely conventional relationship
1741 Of the original contract
p.276 p.276 People must have agreed to authority, because they are naturally equal, prior to education
p.278 p.278 The idea that society rests on consent or promises undermines obedience
p.283 p.43 We no more give 'tacit assent' to the state than a passenger carried on board a ship while asleep
p.285 p.285 The people would be amazed to learn that government arises from their consent
p.288 p.288 We all know that the history of property is founded on injustices
p.291 p.291 Moral questions can only be decided by common opinion
1748 Enquiry Conc Human Understanding
p.9 Premises can support an argument without entailing
p.63 Hume never shows how a strong habit could generate the concept of necessity
p.149 At first Hume said qualities are the causal entities, but later he said events
p.275 'Natural beliefs' are unavoidable, whatever our judgements
p.276 Hume's regularity theory of causation is epistemological; he believed in some sort of natural necessity
p.342 Hume mistakenly lumps sensations and perceptions together as 'impressions'
82 p.104 All reasoning concerning matters of fact is based on analogy (with similar results of similar causes)
7.2.58 p.74 We cannot form an idea of a 'power', and the word is without meaning
7.2.60 p.77 Cause is where if the first object had not been, the second had not existed
I.VII.17 p.125 General ideas are the connection by resemblance to some particular
II.12 p.18 Impressions are our livelier perceptions, Ideas the less lively ones
II.13 p.19 We can only invent a golden mountain by combining experiences
II.13 p.19 All ideas are copies of impressions
II.14 p.19 The idea of an infinite, intelligent, wise and good God arises from augmenting the best qualities of our own minds
II.15 p.20 We cannot form the idea of something we haven't experienced
II.17 p.22 If we suspect that a philosophical term is meaningless, we should ask what impression it derives from
III.19 p.24 All ideas are connected by Resemblance, Contiguity in time or place, and Cause and Effect
IV.I p.276 Hume says we can only know constant conjunctions, not that that's what causation IS
IV.I.20 p.25 All objects of enquiry are Relations of Ideas, or Matters of Fact
IV.I.20 p.25 Relations of ideas are known by thought, independently from the world
IV.I.22 p.26 All reasoning about facts is causal; nothing else goes beyond memory and senses
IV.I.23 p.27 How could Adam predict he would drown in water or burn in fire?
IV.I.23 p.27 No causes can be known a priori, but only from experience of constant conjunctions
IV.I.26 p.30 We can discover some laws of nature, but never its ultimate principles and causes
IV.I.26 p.31 The observation of human blindness and weakness is the result of all philosophy
IV.I.27 p.31 Reason assists experience in discovering laws, and in measuring their application
IV.II.29 p.33 We assume similar secret powers behind similar experiences, such as the nourishment of bread
IV.II.29 p.212 Hume just shows induction isn't deduction
IV.II.30 p.33 Reason cannot show why reliable past experience should extend to future times and remote places
IV.II.30 p.35 All experimental conclusions assume that the future will be like the past
IV.II.31 p.36 Only madmen dispute the authority of experience
IV.II.32 p.38 Induction can't prove that the future will be like the past, since induction assumes this
IV.II.33 p.39 Fools, children and animals all learn from experience
V.I.36 p.43 All inferences from experience are effects of custom, not reasoning
V.I.36 p.43 If we infer causes from repetition, this explains why we infer from a thousand objects what we couldn't infer from one
V.I.36 n.1 p.45 You couldn't reason at all if you lacked experience
V.I.37 p.46 Reasons for belief must eventually terminate in experience, or they are without foundation
V.II.39 p.48 Belief is just a particular feeling attached to ideas of objects
V.II.39 p.48 Belief can't be a concept plus an idea, or we could add the idea to fictions
V.II.40 p.49 Belief is stronger, clearer and steadier than imagination
V.II.41 p.51 A picture of a friend strengthens our idea of him, by resemblance
V.II.41 p.231 Hume does not distinguish real resemblances among degrees of resemblance
V.II.42 p.52 When I am close to (contiguous with) home, I feel its presence more nearly
V.II.43 p.53 An object made by a saint is the best way to produce thoughts of him
V.II.44 p.54 Beliefs are built up by resemblance, contiguity and causation
V.II.45 p.55 Our awareness of patterns of causation is too important to be left to slow and uncertain reasoning
VI.46 p.56 There is no such thing as chance
VI.47 p.58 We transfer the frequency of past observations to our future predictions
VII p.214 Hume never even suggests that there is no such thing as causation
VII.I.49 p.62 When definitions are pushed to the limit, only experience can make them precise
VII.I.50 p.63 In observing causes we can never observe any necessary connections or binding qualities
VII.I.52 p.66 Only experience teaches us about our wills
VII.II.60 p.50 In both of Hume's definitions, causation is extrinsic to the sequence of events
VII.II.60 p.74 Hume's definition of cause as constantly joined thoughts can't cover undiscovered laws
VII.II.60 p.76 A cause is either similar events following one another, or an experience always suggesting a second experience
VIII.I.72 p.94 The doctrine of free will arises from a false sensation we have of freedom in many actions
VIII.I.73 p.95 Liberty is merely acting according to the will, which anyone can do if they are not in chains
VIII.I.76 p.98 If you deny all necessity and causation, then our character is not responsible for our crime
VIII.I.76 p.98 Praise and blame can only be given if an action proceeds from a person's character and disposition
VIII.I.76 p.99 Repentance gets rid of guilt, which shows that responsibility arose from the criminal principles in the mind
VIII.II.75 p.34 Hume makes determinism less rigid by removing the necessity from causation
X.i.89 p.113 We think testimony matches reality because of experience, not some a priori connection
X.I.90 p.114 A miracle violates laws which have been established by continuous unchanging experience, so should be ignored
X.I.90 p.115 All experience must be against a supposed miracle, or it wouldn't be called 'a miracle'
X.I.91 p.116 To establish a miracle the falseness of the evidence must be a greater miracle than the claimed miraculous event
X.II.92 p.116 Good testimony needs education, integrity, motive and agreement
XI.105 p.136 You can't infer the cause to be any greater than its effect
XI.114 p.147 No government has ever suffered by being too tolerant of philosophy
XI.115 p.148 It is only when two species of thing are constantly conjoined that we can infer one from the other
XI.115 p.148 If a singular effect is studied, its cause can only be inferred from the types of events involved
XII.I.116 p.150 There is no certain supreme principle, or infallible rule of inference
XII.I.117 p.151 It never occurs to people that they only experience representations, not the real objects
XII.I.117 p.151 Examples of illusion only show that sense experience needs correction by reason
XII.I.121 p.154 Reason can never show that experiences are connected to external objects
XII.I.122 p.154 If secondary qualities (e.g. hardness) are in the mind, so are primary qualities like extension
XII.II.122 p.155 We can't think about the abstract idea of triangles, but only of particular triangles
XII.II.124 p.155 It is a very extravagant aim of the sceptics to destroy reason and argument by means of reason and argument
XII.II.128 p.159 The main objection to scepticism is that no good can come of it
XII.III.129 p.161 Mitigated scepticism draws attention to the limitations of human reason, and encourages modesty
XII.III.130 p.162 Mitigated scepticism sensibly confines our enquiries to the narrow capacity of human understanding
XII.III.132 p.164 A priori it looks as if a cause could have absolutely any effect
XII.III.132 p.164 It can never be a logical contradiction to assert the non-existence of something thought to exist
XII.III.132 p.165 If books don't relate ideas or explain facts, commit them to the flames
1748 Of Miracles
p. It can't be more rational to believe in natural laws than miracles if the laws are not rational
1750 Of the First Principles of Government
p.25 p.25 There are two kinds of right - to power, and to property
p.25 p.25 It is an exaggeration to say that property is the foundation of all government
1750 Of Civil Liberty
p.54 p.54 Modern monarchies are (like republics) rule by law, rather than by men
1750 Of the Origin of Government
p.28 p.28 The only purpose of government is to administer justice, which brings security
1750 That Politics may be reduced to a Science
p.14 p.14 It would be absurd if even a free constitution did not impose restraints, for the public good
p.15 p.15 Nobility either share in the power of the whole, or they compose the power of the whole
p.21 p.21 Friendship without community spirit misses out on the main part of virtue
1751 Enquiry concerning Principles of Morals
I.136 p.172 Conclusions of reason do not affect our emotions or decisions to act
I.136 p.172 Moral philosophy aims to show us our duty
III.II.155 p.194 If you equalise possessions, people's talents will make them unequal again
III.II.157 p.196 The safety of the people is the supreme law
III.II.163 p.203 Justice only exists to support society
IX.I.217 p.269 Personal Merit is the possession of useful or agreeable mental qualities
IX.I.222 p.272 The human heart has a natural concern for public good
IX.II.228 p.279 Virtue just requires careful calculation and a preference for the greater happiness
IX.II.228 p.279 Society prefers helpful lies to harmful truth
IX.II.228 p.280 No moral theory is of any use if it doesn't serve the interests of the individual concerned
V.II.183 p.226 No one would cause casual pain to a complete stranger who happened to be passing
V.II.186n p.229 Nature makes private affections come first, because public concerns are spread too thinly
1751 Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
Part 1 p.45 The objects of theological reasoning are too big for our minds
Part 2 p.53 We can't assume God's perfections are like our ideas or like human attributes
Part 2 p.54 Analogy suggests that God has a very great human mind
Part 2 p.54 An analogy begins to break down as soon as the two cases differ
Part 2 p.59 How can we pronounce on a whole after a brief look at a very small part?
Part 4 p.72 The thing which contains order must be God, so see God where you see order
Part 5 p.76 Why would we infer an infinite creator from a finite creation?
Part 5 p.77 The universe may be the result of trial-and-error
Part 5 p.77 From our limited view, we cannot tell if the universe is faulty
Part 5 p.104 A design argument implies that the cause is like its effect, so God must contain the defects of the world
Part 5 p.106 Judging by the design, God is finite, imperfect, may not be the designer, and may be a team of gods
Part 5 p.108 If we infer God from an analogy with a watch, he must have human characteristics like sexuality, infancy or senility
Part 5 p.109 To claim that motion is derived from intelligence is based on no evidence and explains nothing
Part 5 p.110 Maybe the motions of the world converge on efficient structures, without divine intervention
Part 5 p.112 If the world is designed why does it have unnecessary things like our second eye, camels, sheep or magnets?
Part 5 p.113 Thought is caused by experience of the world, but the world is only caused by thought if it is linked to it
Part 7 p.86 Creation is more like vegetation than human art, so it won't come from reason
Part 7 p.91 Order may come from an irrational source as well as a rational one
Part 9 p.95 A chain of events requires a cause for the whole as well as the parts, yet the chain is just a sum of parts
Part 9 p.95 If something must be necessary so that something exists rather than nothing, why can't the universe be necessary?
Part 9 p.96 Existence can't be proved a priori, because it can't be a contradiction to say something does not exist
Part 9 p.98 Patterns in numbers look like divine design, until you discover that they are inevitable
1757 Of the standard of taste
p.123 Forget about beauty; just concentrate on the virtues of delicacy and discernment admired in critics
p.159 Strong sense, delicate sentiment, practice, comparisons, and lack of prejudice, are all needed for good taste
1775 On suicide
p.170 If suicide is wrong because only God disposes of our lives, it must also be wrong to save lives