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Hume_2x4_handout - An Enquiry concerning Human...

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An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding : Parts II & IV Epistemology : Empiricism: Our best chance at certain knowledge will come from what we receive through our senses; empirical observation is the basis and justification for our knowledge. Perceptions come in two kinds: impressions and ideas. The distinction between impressions and ideas is made in virtue of the force and liveliness of the perception. “The most lively thought is still inferior to the dullest sensation.” Impressions: “By the term impression, then, I mean all of our more lively perceptions, when we hear, or see, or feel, or love, or hate, or desire, or will.” Those perceptions which strike us with the most force and liveliness Sensation and emotions in their first appearances These are immediate, primary, and direct Ideas (or thoughts): These are faint images of impressions used in thinking and reasoning; they mimic or copy perceptions of the senses; less forcible and lively Memory of a sensation, anticipation by imagination These are remote, secondary, indirect Impressions and ideas can also be categorized as simple of complex: Simple : cannot be separated into individual parts; atomic or primitive Impressions Ideas Complex : can be separated into individual parts; composed of simple ideas and impressions Impressions Ideas
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Unlike Locke’s resemblance thesis (which was between ideas of qualities and qualities in the world) Hume holds that there is a resemblance between impressions and ideas. However, he notes that: (1) Complex ideas do not always resemble complex impressions. One can form a complex idea of some object for which she has never had an impression. (2) All of our simple ideas in their first appearance are derived from simple impressions which are correspondent to them, and which they exactly represent. The argument for (2) is that impressions cause ideas. Hume claims that we notice that there is a constant conjunction and temporal priority of impression to ideas. That is, we have a forceful and lively perception (an impression) and then we have a fainter and less lively perception (the idea). We notice that this happens all the time, so we conclude that the relation is not one of chance, rather there must be some dependence between the two.
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