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12. Hume's empiricism.docx

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Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

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LECTURE 12: Hume's Radical Empiricism (October 20, 2011) 0. Historical and biographical matters  David Hume 1711- 1776 o Scottish man of letters; Scottish enlightenment o Historian o Economist o Essayist  Hume’s philosophical writings cover many subjects o Epistemology o Causation o Inductive argument o Religion: miracles, design argument o The nature of ethics o Political theory o Free will and determinism o The nature of the self  The “British Empiricists” o Locke (England) o Mill o Gassendi 1. Radical Empiricism  To check the validity of any idea, reconstruct its origin as an impression  Nihil in inellectu quod non prius fuit in sensu -> "Nothing is in the understanding that was not earlier in the senses." 2. Impressions and Ideas  “Impression” is a term of art for Hume, denoting an original sense- perception or feeling;  “Idea”, by contrast, means the residue of such an impression, called up in memory or imagination. Ideas are copied from impressions  Impressions are vivacious and forceful;  Ideas are weaker  Impressions are derived from “outward or inward sentiment” o “Outward Sentiment”= sense perception o “Inward Sentiment”= internal sense, love, pain…  Is there a problem about inward sentiments? o Hume’s view would be that sentiments that are bodily inward, are still mentally outward  Two arguments for this view A) Any complex argument can be resolved into simple ones that originated a
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