PHL100Y1 Lecture Notes - An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
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Freedom and Reasoning
Reading: Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 6-12
•Hume doesn’t deny we have a cause of beliefs
•Why is it that we make the assumption that the future will be like the past?
•How do we get a cause of expectations? We get it because of habit/custom
•We are forming a cause of belief—For ming every particular belief under the
impact of experience
•What is the belief that A causes B A causes B; that one of them has the power
to bring up the other
•How do you com e to have cause of belief? Cause of conjunction? (Inquiry in 5, 6,
7) Where could you get it from?
Hume lists 3 possibilities:
1.From observing things – cannot get it from seeing things in the world. Only see
cause of conjunctions, do not see the cause of links form t he world
2.Know about causality – from our experience of power over our own bodies.
Incor rect, because take an instance, how does it work? How does choosing to raise
your arm make it go up? That’s t he connection. We do not experience the power,
because its not true the mind has power over the body, e.g. wanting to grow hair
instantly. Mind’s power over itself? It is a discovered fact, not too hard to imagine
things. Mind is not at all good at controlling the sentiments. Mental control is
variable because “we are more the master of our thoughts in the mor ning than the
evening.” We don’t have t he idea of necessary connection, we know it must come
from some impression somewhere—where does it come from?
3.Unofficial solution – in cases of causation, you have an impression of the cause
(A) and belief in (B), that were will be a B and then there’s a causation of the
mind, from impression of mind A moves to B. This must be where impression of
necessary connection comes fromIt is the customary transition from A to
belief of B. However transition if not impression
Off icial solution - Feeling of compulsion comes with the transition. With A comes the
thought of B; cannot resist the thought of B source of idea with necessary connection
The sentiment that accompanies it, not the transition.
The association of ideas – from one thing we associate the other. From an impression of
one thing to a belief of the other
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