David Hume was a well known philosopher and his comments were about human understanding were taken on board by many people. Hume’s opinions matched those of John Locke and George Berkeley in that they were logical to the extreme. He made it possible to elucidate upon exisiting knowledge about human understanding. His was skeptical about the evidence pertaining to the exisiting writing on religion. He rejected any rational theology. Hume resided in the monarchy of George II under. Hume passed away during the American War of Independence.
Hume rejected and complex religious doctrines and commented that any evil content present in that religion had caused havoc to humanity as a whole. (Hume, 2005) Hume was directing his comments towards the direction of Descartes. Hume comments that man obtains knowledge from the experience he has been through and that we as a whole ought to be skeptical of all other forms of knowledge. Descartes o the other hand comments that all forms of knowledge comes from the mind.
In Contrast to Hume, Kant believed nothing in this world is true: sometime during your life an elderly person taught youeverything you know about the world; he told you what an egg is and you drew the image of the egg in your head so every time you see the egg you know what it is. Kant asked, but how do you know it is an egg? It is an illusion that your mind portrays, you can see the egg, cook it and eat it, but you still do not know if it really is an egg. Therefore man does not know anything. It is just a trick your intellect is playing on you. It’s creating the image in your head, which is not true. Of course that means that every man has a different view and different picture of the world. How do you know if what you are seeing is an egg?
Kant left the world puzzled. The more read about sophists, the more this world seems depressing as does the true meaning of human understanding. The more it is realized that the economy we live in was the creation of those sophists, the more the world is hated. How can people be so ignorant, so absent-minded? It is beyond comprehension that man can believe such nonsense; man is born with common sense, he should be able to comprehend that Hume’s and Kant’s arguments make no sense. Because of the sophists, we live in a world filled with lies, pain, and hatred towards one another.
Since we have no truth, we cannot comprehend that we are all the same. Immanuel Kant left the world puzzled and of course more of his type will come to finish the task of destroying the truth that is left in the world. Hume contends, despite induction being an unjustified form of reasoning, we still use it. There may be, he states, a “secret power” the faculties of human imagination cannot comprehend which forces uniformity and regularity among causes and effects. Lacking proof of this, however, Hume states that there is “a consequence drawn by the mind… a certain step taken; a process
of thought, and inference,” (Hume, 2005) which “commits us to the unjustified belief that the future can be predicted from the past. ” (Hume, 2005) When deciding whether or not Hume’s response is correct, i find him outthinking me. My initial reaction to his statements would be to claim that, for his base of knowledge, he was certainly correct. However, I felt that in the modern age, science was capable of understanding the “similar sensible qualities” which “conjoined with… secret powers” and caused consistent, unchanged effects. This, I realized, was not true.
Although we may now be able to understand how the molecules that form a billiard ball strike the molecules of another billiard ball, we can only be sure of this interaction for the particular instance we are examining. There is nothing in science that can prove this reaction will be the same every time it occurs. A theory about how the billiard balls will always react can never be proved, only disproved. The scientific method, I realize, permits only that increased evidence can make conclusions more likely, never certain. However, if Hume is correct, how can he defend his own philosophy on human understanding?
Does not the lack of a guaranteed effect from any cause force one to wonder about the point of acting at all? Since Hume cannot be sure that physical laws will change in the future, why does he attempt to make any theories about the ones that currently exist? He would likely argue that experiences concerning cause and effect “… can be allowed to give direct and certain information of those precise objects only, and that precise period of time, which fell under its cognizance. ” (Hume, 2005) He has already shown us how experience cannot allow one to rationally justify causal relationships when it comes to human understanding.
This does not, however, translate into a lack of knowledge. In Descartes’ Mediations, the lack of a reasonable justification would render it entirely in doubt. Hume believes that custom, as described above, suffices, however skeptical a solution it may be. (Hume, 2005) Hume’s thoughts on induction serve to reveal to us how logical reasoning for human understanding is a far less rational tool than we might have previously believed. He never says that there is no “uniformity of nature” or that the moon will not follow the sun this evening as it has every evening prior.
He simply shows how it is beyond the faculties of humanity to detect whatever enforces the regularity of physical laws, and thus we must subsist with the irrational practices of custom and habit. Hume’s comments with regards to human understanding were ambigous to some but were valuable to others.
Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. V. I, Section IV. Past Masters Hume Text Base Page 337. 2005 Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. V. II, Section IV. Past Masters Hume Text Base Page 341. 2005