PHI101_71013_Lecture14_Oct15

PHI101_71013_Lecture14_Oct15 - PHI 101 (71013) Dr. Tuomas...

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PHI 101 (71013) Dr. Tuomas Manninen ASU-West David Hume: “The self as a bundle of perceptions” October 15, 2009
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Empiricism of Locke and Hume Hume, like Locke, is an empiricist. Therefore, he maintains that everything that is possible to know is knowable through the senses. All learning comes through sensory impressions. Thus, if there is to be a persistent self that we can know about, that self must be accessible to sensory impressions.
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Locke and Hume (2) The self is supposed to be a constant thing. It is supposed to denote the constant aspect of ourselves that never changes over time and that is suppose to connect all our various stages. Thus the self, whatever it turns out to be, must be stable and unchanging.
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Hume on the self What gives rise to the impression of the self? Hume thinks that there is no one thing from which we get this impression. “Self or person is not any one impression, but that to which our several impressions and ideas are supposed to have reference.”
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Hume on the self (2) “If any impression gives rise to the self, that impression must continue invariably the same…” “But there is no impression constant and invariable.” Impressions of pain and pleasure, grief and joy, passions and sensations succeed one another; they don’t exist all at once. These impressions cannot give the idea of a constant self.
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Hume on the self (3) What about other sense-impression? Surely it is I who has all these? Hume: not so. “When I enter most intimately into what I call myself , I always stumble on some particular perception or other.” “I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception.”
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Hume on the self (4) Anytime you introspect and look deep within yourself , all that you actually find are fleeting sensations and emotions. When, in the process of introspection, do you ever find that static self that you assume exists? Further, if one's consciousness is completely removed by death, your self is entirely annihilated as well. “When my perceptions are removed … so long am I insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist”
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Hume’s Bundle Theory “I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other.” Analogy: the mind as a theatre where several perceptions appear in succession. Against pushing the analogy too far: we have nothing more than just the perceptions (no idea where they are represented, or of what materials they are composed).
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Bundle theory – second analogy The self is like a population or a group of people. Example – ASU-West student body: the
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PHI101_71013_Lecture14_Oct15 - PHI 101 (71013) Dr. Tuomas...

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