David Hume (7 May 1711 – 25 August 1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment. Hume is often grouped with John Locke, George Berkeley, and a handful of others as a British Empiricist.
Beginning with his A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), Hume strove to create a total naturalistic "science of man" that examined the psychological basis of human nature. In stark opposition to the rationalists who preceded him, most notably Descartes, he concluded that desire rather than reason governed human behavior, saying: "Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions." A prominent figure in the sceptical philosophical tradition and a strong empiricist, he argued against the existence of innate ideas, concluding instead that humans have knowledge only of things they directly experience. Thus he divides perceptions between strong and lively "impressions" or direct sensations and fainter "ideas", which are copied from impressions. He developed the position that mental behaviour is governed by "custom", that is acquired ability; our use of induction, for example, is justified only by our idea of the "constant conjunction" of causes and effects. Without direct impressions of a metaphysical "self", he concluded that humans have no actual conception of the self, only of a bundle of sensations associated with the self.
Hume advocated a compatibilist theory of free will that proved extremely influential on subsequent moral philosophy. He was also a sentimentalist who held that ethics are based on feelings rather than abstract moral principles. Hume also examined the normative is–ought problem. He held notoriously ambiguous views of Christianity, but famously challenged the argument from design in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1777).
Kant credited Hume with waking him up from his "dogmatic slumbers" and Hume has proved extremely influential on subsequent philosophy, especially on utilitarianism, logical positivism, William James, philosophy of science, early analytic philosophy, cognitive philosophy, and other movements and thinkers. The philosopher Jerry Fodor proclaimed Hume's Treatise "the founding document of cognitive science". Also famous as a prose stylist, Hume pioneered the essay as a literary genre and engaged with contemporary intellectual luminaries such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith (who acknowledged Hume's influence on his economics and political philosophy), James Boswell, Joseph Butler, and Thomas Reid.
Other articles related to "david hume, hume":
... David Hume (1796 Berwick, Scotland - 1 February 1864 Grahamstown) was a Scottish-South African explorer and big-game hunter ... David Hume was born in Berwick, Scotland and went to South Africa with Benjamin Moodie's Scottish settlers in 1817 ... Hume heard reports of the existence of Lake Ngami, but in 1836 lacked the funds to mount an expedition ...
... He was the second son of Sir David Hume or Home, seventh baron of Wedderburn, Berwickshire ... On the recovery of his brother, Hume for a time continued to manage his affairs, but in 1583 he was residing as private secretary with his relative, Archibald Douglas, 8th ... During the exile of the Ruthven party at Newcastle, Hume was in London, ostensibly studying, but actively interesting himself in Angus and his cause ...
1739–40) Hume intended to see whether the Treatise of Human Nature met with success, and if so to complete it with books devoted to Politics and ... As Hume himself said, "It fell dead-born from the press, without reaching such distinction as even to excite a murmur among the zealots" and so was not completed ... (1740) Anonymously published, but almost certainly written by Hume in an attempt to popularise his Treatise ...
... Hume (1711–1776) argued for two kinds of reasoning probable and demonstrative (Hume's fork), and applied these to the skeptical argument that reality is but an ... Hume concludes that there is no solution to the skeptical argument except, to ignore it ...
Famous quotes containing the words hume and/or david:
“To hate, to love, to think, to feel, to see; all this is nothing but to perceive.”
—David Hume (17111776)
“The newspaper is a Bible which we read every morning and every afternoon, standing and sitting, riding and walking. It is a Bible which every man carries in his pocket, which lies on every table and counter, and which the mail, and thousands of missionaries, are continually dispersing. It is, in short, the only book which America has printed, and which America reads. So wide is its influence.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)