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David Hume personal identity.docx

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Stephen Heathorn

David Hume- “Of the Immortality of the Soul”  Overall position similar to Locke’s EXCEPT Hume does not believe in bodily resurrection  Hume does not believe in bodily resurrection  It is difficult to prove personal immortality but by religion alone we do believe in it  It is unclear how much Hume believes in the gospel Metaphysical Argument for Immortality  It is impossible for thought (consciousness) to belong to matter so the soul must be immaterial  Immaterial things cannot be destroyedsoul/you cannot be destroyed even when the physical body dies  Your soul lives on after the death of your body Hume: we cannot be sure of that matter can’t sustain consciousness  Agrees with Locke that the nature of substance utterly obscure and so we can’t be sure what the properties in here in either  Agrees with Locke that we know from experience, matter may be the cause or basis of consciousness Let’s suppose that there are immaterial substances and consciousness require immaterial  By analogy Nature uses immaterial like she uses matter substance  Like “a kind of paste or clay” that she re-uses again and again  The same matter can compose the bodies of different animals, so immaterial can compose different minds  Consciousness- thus personhood continually being dissolved at death of each body  Same matteryet no consciousness and not the same person Moral Argument for Immortality  Mortality rests on belief that God will reward the virtuous and punish the vicious in the next life  Hume: philosophically, everything about human existence seems directed toward this life
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