more from David Hume

Single Idea 20189

[catalogued under 11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / d. Cause of beliefs]

Full Idea

Belief consists merely in a certain feeling or sentiment; in something, that depends not on the will, but must arise from certain determinate causes and principles, of which we are not master.

Gist of Idea

Belief is a feeling, independent of the will, which arises from uncontrolled and unknown causes


David Hume (Treatise of Human Nature, + Appendix [1740], Appen p.2)

Book Reference

Hume,David: 'A Treatise of Human Nature', ed/tr. Selby-Bigge/Nidditch [OUP 1978], p.624

A Reaction

This is the opposite of Descartes' 'doxastic voluntarism' (i.e. we choose what to believe). If you want to become a Christian, steep yourself in religious literature, and the company of religious people. It will probably work.