1) What's Hume's view of personal identity, or the self? What are his arguments for this?
Personal identity is the quality which we attribute based on the union of ideas in our
imagination when we reflect upon them.
Personal identity proceeds from uninterrupted
progress of our thoughts along a train of interconnected ideas.
When we try to examine our own experiences, all we observe are transient feelings,
sensations, and impressions
We cannot be directly aware of ourselves, only of what we are experiencing at any given
Our relations between our ideas, feelings etc can be traced through time by memory, but
there is no real evidence of a core connection.
If any impression gives rise to the idea of self, that impression must continue and not
vary through our lifetime, but since self is supposed to exist after that impression, it
cannot be constant and invariable.
2) What is Hume's view of identity in general?
Hume believes identity is a habit of the mind, human nature. We preserve it through our
memories. Hume views Identity as the idea that an object remains uninterrupted through
variations in time.
We attribute a continued identity to unperceived objects because resemblances and
relations of contiguity and causation in our perceptions force us to form an imaginative
picture to the effect that their identity remains intact even when we are not looking. Also,
we cannot make sense of the notion of objects existing independently of ourselves unless
we have an idea of 'ourselves' as something that occasionally becomes aware of these
objects. It is the human mind, or consciousness, that is thus conceived of as a field of
experience into which various different objects appear and then disappear: "the true idea
of the human mind, is to consider it as a system of different perceptions or different
existences, which are linked together by the relation of cause and effect, and mutually
produce, destroy, influence, and modify each other." So we are not collections of
perceptions (except perhaps metaphorically); we are the subjects of experience, who
encounter a world of continuous objects in consciousness.
3) What are three relations between ideas, according to Hume? Which relation is not
directly given in impressions, or experience?
The three relations between ideas according to Hume are resemblance, contiguity,
The relation not directly given in impressions, or experience in
Hume, however, develops a powerful account of the mind by identifying
the ways in which ideas may be related to one another. We can mentally
link ideas together in three ways: