more from David Hume

Single Idea 12048

[catalogued under 9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique]

Full Idea

We have no idea of substance, distinct from that of a collection of particular qualities, nor have we any other meaning when we either talk or reason concerning it.

Gist of Idea

The only meaning we have for substance is a collection of qualities


David Hume (Treatise of Human Nature [1739], 1.1.6)

Book Reference

Hume,David: 'A Treatise of Human Nature', ed/tr. Mossner,Ernest C. [Penguin 1969], p.63

A Reaction

This is the standard empiricist view of such things, firmly stated. It is tempting to say that Hume has simply misunderstood the word, since it is precisely intended to mean not the qualities, but what underlies them, and persists.