more from David Hume

Single Idea 2220

[catalogued under 20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / a. Will to Act]

Full Idea

We learn the influence of our will from experience alone.

Gist of Idea

Only experience teaches us about our wills


David Hume (Enquiry Conc Human Understanding [1748], VII.I.52)

Book Reference

Hume,David: 'Enquiries Conc. Human Understanding, Morals', ed/tr. Selby-Bigge/Nidditch [OUP 1975], p.66

A Reaction

I can, of course, produce inductive generalisations about what my will can achieve, based on some limited experiences. "I know I can master that". Hobbes (and others) say we have no experience of a 'will'. Hume should be more sceptical!