This is the book that started a revolution against the rationalist camp of continental
philosophy. David Hume introduces his rebellious idea of introducing sciences and human philosophy under the foundational basket of empirical investigation. This was originally inspired by the same model of Isaac Newton’s profound groundwork in general physics, and Hume sought to apply the same empirical Hume gives primacy and value to the force of human understanding rather than the automatic “de jure” of rationalism. Humes argue that passion is the driving force of human nature, not reason. This line of thinking advocates an “inductivist” notion of nature rather than the deductive advocates of rationalism.
David Hume calls this human nature centric as “naturalism” in contrast to counter “rationalism”. He displaces an empirical investigation in human psychology. Hume argues that all sciences ultimately depend on the capacity of man to understand and create “science”. The extent and force of human understanding in the nature of the ideas are fundamentally coalesced to the operations of reasonings. For real intellectual progress we need. Hume hopes “to explain the principles of human nature”, thereby “propos[ing] a complete system of the sciences, built on a foundation entirely new and alternative system of philosophies.
Hume asserts that all ideas are derived from the simple impressions of man. A resemblance of information, posteriori knowledge, meets functional senses for a corresponding idea. The impression of “see is to believe” wholesomely captures the essence of empirical naturalism. This book also explains the concept of space and time to demonstrate that space and time are not infinitely divisible, but are instead composed of indivisible points. On his account, the idea of space is abstracted from our sensory capabilities, or experiences, (arrangements of coloured or tangible points) to determine a sense of order, and the idea of time from the changing succession of our own perceptions.
Humes made several distinctions, such as the impression of sensation (actual experience) and impression of reflection (experience of emotions). Humes further expanded the latter through his concept of passion. Passion is the core driving force of human reason. Reason cannot act on itself without the reference of passion. Hence he calls reason as a slave of passion. Another lengthy discussion points by the treatise of human nature is virtue. The most important of these virtues is justice, and in the first section Hume offers his so-called “circle argument” to show that justice would not be seen as a virtue in a hypothetical world lacking the relevant social conventions.
First, Hume contends, character-based motives are more morally apt than action because we approve of an action only insofar as it indicates some virtuous motive in a person’s character, so that what makes an action virtuous in the first place is the virtuous motive it proceeds from. But this motive must be an ordinary motive in human nature, as opposed to the distinctive moral motive of performing the action because it is virtuous (i.e., a “sense of duty”). After all, this moral motive presupposes that the action already counts as virtuous, and it would be circular to derive the action’s virtue from a motive which itself presupposes the action’s virtue. And so if justice were a natural virtue, there would have to be an ordinary motive in human nature that could make someone obey the rules of justice.
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