Ideas from 'Enquiry Conc Human Understanding' by David Hume [1748], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Enquiries Conc. Human Understanding, Morals' by Hume,David (ed/tr Selby-Bigge/Nidditch) [OUP 1975,0-19-824536-x]].

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 7. Despair over Philosophy
The observation of human blindness and weakness is the result of all philosophy
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 4. Conceptual Analysis
If we suspect that a philosophical term is meaningless, we should ask what impression it derives from
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 1. Aims of Science
All experimental conclusions assume that the future will be like the past
2. Reason / E. Argument / 3. Analogy
All reasoning concerning matters of fact is based on analogy (with similar results of similar causes)
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / a. Mathematical empiricism
Reason assists experience in discovering laws, and in measuring their application
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 4. Abstract Existence
We can't think about the abstract idea of triangles, but only of particular triangles
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 7. Against Powers
We cannot form an idea of a 'power', and the word is without meaning
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 6. Probability
We transfer the frequency of past observations to our future predictions
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 7. Chance
There is no such thing as chance
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / a. Beliefs
Belief is stronger, clearer and steadier than imagination
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / b. Elements of beliefs
Belief is just a particular feeling attached to ideas of objects
Belief can't be a concept plus an idea, or we could add the idea to fictions
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 4. Belief / d. Cause of beliefs
'Natural beliefs' are unavoidable, whatever our judgements [Strawson,G]
Beliefs are built up by resemblance, contiguity and causation
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 9. A Priori from Concepts
Relations of ideas are known by thought, independently from the world
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / e. Primary/secondary critique
If secondary qualities (e.g. hardness) are in the mind, so are primary qualities like extension
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 3. Representation
It never occurs to people that they only experience representations, not the real objects
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 1. Empiricism
If books don't relate ideas or explain facts, commit them to the flames
All reasoning about facts is causal; nothing else goes beyond memory and senses
All objects of enquiry are Relations of Ideas, or Matters of Fact
Impressions are our livelier perceptions, Ideas the less lively ones
All ideas are copies of impressions
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 2. Associationism
All ideas are connected by Resemblance, Contiguity in time or place, and Cause and Effect
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 4. Pro-Empiricism
How could Adam predict he would drown in water or burn in fire?
We cannot form the idea of something we haven't experienced
We can only invent a golden mountain by combining experiences
Only madmen dispute the authority of experience
You couldn't reason at all if you lacked experience
When definitions are pushed to the limit, only experience can make them precise
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 5. Empiricism Critique
Hume mistakenly lumps sensations and perceptions together as 'impressions' [Scruton]
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / c. Empirical foundations
Reasons for belief must eventually terminate in experience, or they are without foundation
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / f. Foundationalism critique
There is no certain supreme principle, or infallible rule of inference
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 7. Testimony
We think testimony matches reality because of experience, not some a priori connection
Good testimony needs education, integrity, motive and agreement [PG]
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 1. Scepticism
Reason can never show that experiences are connected to external objects
Mitigated scepticism draws attention to the limitations of human reason, and encourages modesty
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 2. Types of Scepticism
Mitigated scepticism sensibly confines our enquiries to the narrow capacity of human understanding
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 3. Illusion Scepticism
Examples of illusion only show that sense experience needs correction by reason
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 6. Scepticism Critique
The main objection to scepticism is that no good can come of it
It is a very extravagant aim of the sceptics to destroy reason and argument by means of reason and argument
14. Science / C. Induction / 2. Aims of Induction
We assume similar secret powers behind similar experiences, such as the nourishment of bread
14. Science / C. Induction / 3. Limits of Induction
Fools, children and animals all learn from experience
Reason cannot show why reliable past experience should extend to future times and remote places
If we infer causes from repetition, this explains why we infer from a thousand objects what we couldn't infer from one
All inferences from experience are effects of custom, not reasoning
Induction can't prove that the future will be like the past, since induction assumes this
14. Science / C. Induction / 4. Reason in Induction
Hume just shows induction isn't deduction [Williams,M]
Premises can support an argument without entailing it [Pollock/Cruz]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 7. Seeing Resemblance
A picture of a friend strengthens our idea of him, by resemblance
General ideas are the connection by resemblance to some particular
Hume does not distinguish real resemblances among degrees of resemblance [Shoemaker]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 8. Remembering Contiguity
When I am close to (contiguous with) home, I feel its presence more nearly
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 9. Perceiving Causation
An object made by a saint is the best way to produce thoughts of him
Our awareness of patterns of causation is too important to be left to slow and uncertain reasoning
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 5. Against Free Will
The doctrine of free will arises from a false sensation we have of freedom in many actions
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 7. Compatibilism
Hume makes determinism less rigid by removing the necessity from causation [Trusted]
Liberty is merely acting according to the will, which anyone can do if they are not in chains
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / a. Will to Act
Only experience teaches us about our wills
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 4. Responsibility for Actions
Praise and blame can only be given if an action proceeds from a person's character and disposition
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / g. Moral responsibility
If you deny all necessity and causation, then our character is not responsible for our crime
Repentance gets rid of guilt, which shows that responsibility arose from the criminal principles in the mind
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 3. Free speech
No government has ever suffered by being too tolerant of philosophy
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 2. Natural Purpose / b. Limited purposes
We can discover some laws of nature, but never its ultimate principles and causes
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation
A priori it looks as if a cause could have absolutely any effect
If a singular effect is studied, its cause can only be inferred from the types of events involved
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 7. Eliminating causation
Hume never even suggests that there is no such thing as causation [Strawson,G]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
At first Hume said qualities are the causal entities, but later he said events [Davidson]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / a. Constant conjunction
No causes can be known a priori, but only from experience of constant conjunctions
Hume says we can only know constant conjunctions, not that that's what causation IS [Strawson,G]
In both of Hume's definitions, causation is extrinsic to the sequence of events [Psillos]
Hume's definition of cause as constantly joined thoughts can't cover undiscovered laws [Ayer]
A cause is either similar events following one another, or an experience always suggesting a second experience
It is only when two species of thing are constantly conjoined that we can infer one from the other
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / c. Counterfactual causation
Cause is where if the first object had not been, the second had not existed
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / d. Causal necessity
Hume never shows how a strong habit could generate the concept of necessity [Harré/Madden]
Hume's regularity theory of causation is epistemological; he believed in some sort of natural necessity [Strawson,G]
In observing causes we can never observe any necessary connections or binding qualities
28. God / B. Proving God / 2. Proofs of Reason / b. Ontological Proof critique
It can never be a logical contradiction to assert the non-existence of something thought to exist
28. God / B. Proving God / 3. Proofs of Evidence / c. Teleological Proof critique
You can't infer the cause to be any greater than its effect
28. God / B. Proving God / 3. Proofs of Evidence / e. Miracles
All experience must be against a supposed miracle, or it wouldn't be called 'a miracle'
To establish a miracle the falseness of the evidence must be a greater miracle than the claimed miraculous event
A miracle violates laws which have been established by continuous unchanging experience, so should be ignored
28. God / C. Attitudes to God / 4. God Reflects Humanity
The idea of an infinite, intelligent, wise and good God arises from augmenting the best qualities of our own minds