Intro to Philosophy
Notes: Phil 1
● Preface to the groundwork
● Common Sense
○ Hume is a philosopher who wants to stick to common sense:
■ To that which everyone implicitly assumes when they move around the
■ The that which is given in experience, in perception
■ Ie, experience, and widespread knowledge
○ He recommends that philosophy be purposefully complicated, obscure, and weird,
as is life
○ This leads him to be skeptical of any appeals to what is not given in experience
○ Power, necessary connection, God, etc. - none of these objects are perceptible, so
none of these ideas can be traced back to sense impressions
○ What about the freedom of the will
● Freedom, according to Hume, is Being able to act against what you want.
● Two concepts of Freedom
○ Freedom as being able to act against all of our inclinations
■ The idea that, no matter what i actually chose to do, i had the option to
■ This idea conflicts with determinism, in which everything that happens is
■ Our actions would be miracles, since they were not done by our
○ Freedom as being able to act on your inclinations
■ I can act freely even if i did what i wanted to do , and even if i desired to
■ This does not contradict determinism, since these actions can have cause
■ We can explain our actions through what caused it.
● Hume’s Compatibalism
○ Freedom and determinism are compatible. They can coexist.
○ Freedom is being determined by “inner causes” (desires, needs, personality). It is
doing what you are inclined to do.
○ This is different from someone else moving your limbs, which would be unfree.
○ But it does not mean that you need to be capable of acting against all of your
desires, needs, personality in order to be free.