David Hume

Eumenis Megalopoulos | Apr 22, 2023

Table of Content


David Hume (April 26 (May 7) 1711 - August 25, 1776) was a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, librarian and essayist who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism and naturalism.

Beginning with his Treatise on Human Nature (1739-1740), Hume sought to create a natural science of man that would explore the psychological basis of human nature. Hume objected to the existence of innate ideas, arguing that all human knowledge comes solely from experience. This places him alongside Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and George Berkeley as the British empiricist.

Hume argued that inductive inference and belief in causality cannot be justified rationally; instead, they are the result of custom and mental habits. In fact, we never perceive that one event causes another, but only experience a "constant conjunction" of events. This problem of induction means that in order to draw any causal inferences from past experience, we must assume that the future will resemble the past, an assumption that cannot itself be based on prior experience.

An opponent of the philosophical rationalists, Hume believed that human behavior was determined by passions rather than reason, and proclaimed that "Reason is and must be but the slave of affects. Hume was also a sentimentalist who believed that ethics was based on emotions or feelings rather than on abstract moral principles. He adhered from the beginning to naturalistic explanations of moral phenomena, and it is generally believed that he was the first to set forth clearly the "is - should" problem, or the idea that a statement of fact by itself can never lead to a normative conclusion about what should be done.

Hume also denied that people have a valid view of themselves, believing that we experience only a set of sensations, and that the self is nothing more than a bundle of causally connected perceptions. Hume's compatibilist theory of free will considers causal determinism to be entirely compatible with human freedom. His views on the philosophy of religion, including the rejection of miracles and the design argument for the existence of God, were particularly controversial for their time.

Hume influenced utilitarianism, logical positivism, philosophy of science, early analytic philosophy, cognitive science, theology, and many other fields and thinkers. Immanuel Kant regarded Hume as the inspiration that awakened him from his "dogmatic slumber.

Childhood and Youth

David Hume was born in 1711 into the family of a poor Scottish nobleman who practiced law and owned a small estate. His father, Joseph Hume, was a lawyer and a member of the ancient house of Hume; the Ninewells, adjacent to the village of Chernside near Berwick-upon-Tuid, had belonged to the family since the early sixteenth century. David was the third child of the family. He lost his father as a child and, as the youngest son, inherited less than 50 pounds of annual income. Hume's mother, Catherine, was the daughter of Sir David Faulconer, head of the Judiciary. She devoted herself entirely to the education of her children, John, Catherine, and David. Religion (Scottish Presbyterianism) played a large part in the home education, and David later recalled believing in God when he was a boy. From 1723 Hume attended the University of Edinburgh, where he received a basic legal education as well as a knowledge of the ancient Greek language.

In 1726 Hume left the university at the insistence of his family, who thought he was called to the bar.

One of Hume's biographers writes thus about the youthful interests of the future thinker:

All that Hume turned his attention to and focused his interest on was usefulness; from this point of view alone he discussed those objects and phenomena on which his penetrating eye rested. It is hard to imagine a more impassioned temperament, a less enthusiastic nature. In its prosaicism Hume reached a complete lack of understanding of beauty and the inability to enjoy it. Painting, sculpture, and music were totally irrelevant to this dry and austere thinker; and in his judgments of major literary works he showed such a lack of artistic sensibility, such a partial and unfair evaluation, as is difficult to understand and allow in a man capable of the wittiest and cleverest judgments when it came to social and political philosophy.

Already in his youth Hume took a special interest in philosophy and literature. He thought a great deal about questions of morality, and at first thought that such reflections alone would, in and of themselves, reincarnate the moral nature of man. From the age of 20 he began to write down his thoughts on religion, but later he burned the notebook in which they were written down. His relatives wished him to pursue the law, but he was drawn to Cicero and Virgil.

Young Hume's strenuous mental activity was not in vain. In his eighteenth year Hume's health deteriorated greatly; he became morose and lethargic, even in what he had so ardently pursued. This led him to decide to make a drastic change in his way of life. In 1734 he moved to Bristol, where he tried to serve as an office clerk in a trading house, but after a few months realized that he did not have the slightest inclination for this kind of work.

After failing in the commercial field, he went to France for three years in the same year, 1734, to Paris and Reims. He spent a considerable part of his time (two years) at the school (college) of La Flesche, where René Descartes had once studied.

Literary and Philosophical Experiences

After his return home, Hume began his philosophical work: In 1738 the first two parts of his Treatise on Human Nature were published. First of all, Hume deals with questions of determining the validity of any knowledge and the certainty of it. Hume believed that knowledge is based on experience, which consists of perceptions (impressions, that is, human sensations, affects, and emotions). Ideas refer to the faint images of these impressions in thinking and reasoning. The second part was devoted to psychological affects. One year later, the third part of the treatise was published, on morality and morals.

Hume's work did not generate the vigorous debate expected in intellectual circles. On the contrary, the work was virtually ignored. It was rumored that the author was an atheist. The latter circumstance proved more than once to be an insurmountable obstacle to Hume's obtaining a teaching position, although Hume worked hard to achieve it. So in 1744 he hoped in vain to obtain a chair of ethics and pneumatic philosophy in his native Edinburgh; he lost the contest to William Cleghorn. The same happened at Glasgow University, where Francis Hutcheson taught, where Hume repeatedly tried to get a job, but without success.

From 1741 to 1742 Hume published his book Moral and Political Essays (Essays), which dealt with political and political-economic topics. It was this work that brought the author fame and popularity.

In 1745 Hume accepted the offer of the young Marquis of Annendel to live with him as tutor and tutor. Hume's pupil was a mentally unstable young man who could not be taught or developed in the way that his tutor-philosopher would have wished. For a whole year Hume had to endure many insults from the uncle of the young marquis, who was in charge of all the affairs of the lords of the Annendels. The Annendels did not pay Hume the agreed salary; he had to conduct a long process to get his earnings (the process dragged on until 1761) Hume himself does not mention this episode with the unpaid salary in his autobiography.

Hume then became secretary to General St. Clair (1746), with whom he went on a military expedition against French Canada. The expedition was limited to cruising off the coast of France. Together with the general, Hume visited military missions in Vienna and Turin, as well as Holland and the German states (1747-1749).

In 1748 Hume began signing his writings with his own name.

Further creativity and recognition

While in Italy, Hume revised the first book of his Treatise on Human Nature into an Inquiry into Human Cognition. It was an abridged and simplified summary of Hume's theory of cognition. In 1748 this work was published in England, but again, like Treatise..., it did not attract the expected public attention. Nor did the abridged summary of the third book of the Treatise, which was published in 1751 under the title Study on the Principles of Morals, arouse much interest.

In the 1750s Hume was engaged in writing a history of England. With this work he aroused the hatred of the English, the Scots, the Irish, the churchmen, the patriots, and many others. But after the publication of the second volume of the History of England in 1756, public opinion changed sharply, and when the following volumes appeared the edition found a considerable audience not only in England, but also on the Continent. Hume wrote a total of six volumes, two of which he reprinted. The entire circulation of all the books was sold out. Hume wrote: "...I have become not only a well-to-do man, but a rich one. I returned to my native Scotland with the firm intention of never leaving it again, and with the pleasant knowledge that I had never once resorted to the help of the powers that be or even sought their friendship. Since I was already in my fifties, I hoped to retain this philosophical freedom for the rest of my life.

As early as 1751 Hume's literary fame was recognized in Edinburgh. In 1752 the Law Society elected him curator of the Law Library (now the National Library of Scotland). There were further disappointments - failure in the elections to Glasgow University and an attempted excommunication from the Church of Scotland.

Activities in France and relations with the Enlighteners

In 1763, after the end of the war between England and France (the Seven Years' War), Hume, as secretary of the British embassy to the Versailles court, was invited to the French capital by the Marquis of Hertford, who was appointed English envoy. Until the beginning of 1766 he was on diplomatic service in Paris, and in the last months he acted as British chargé d'affaires. In Paris he had a bright relationship with the Comtesse de Bouffler.

Here he received recognition for his work on the history of England. Hume's criticism of religious fanatics was endorsed by Voltaire and C. A. Helvetius. Their interests and views largely converged.

Even before his arrival in France, Hume began to correspond with C. A. Helvetius and Montesquieu. He developed a particularly close friendship with Dalembert. Hume also corresponded with Voltaire, although he never met him personally. Hume was also friends with Rousseau, and at dinner parties with Holbach he was always a welcome interlocutor. A special impression on Helvetius, A. Turgot and other Enlighteners was made by Natural History of Religion, published in 1757 in a collection of Four Dissertations.

Hume's attitude toward the French Enlighteners was restrained. In a letter to E. Millar, his publisher, Hume confessed that he preferred to make peace with the churchmen rather than, after Helvetius, to enter into a sharp and dangerous quarrel with them. Hume's ironic remarks on Voltaire's deism and his remarks on the "dogmatism" of P. A. Holbach's System of Nature are well known.

Hume's friendship with J.-J. Rousseau ended up turning friends into enemies. Already in one of his letters of January 1763, however, Hume complained of the undesirable "extravagance" of Rousseau's reasoning and its "unfamiliarity" to the English reader. In 1766 Hume returned to the British Isles. At the same time, Hume invited to England Rousseau, persecuted in France, to whom King George III was ready to grant asylum and means of subsistence. Hume began to promote his friend and bought a house for him in Derbyshire. Rousseau, however, did not find acceptance among the English public and with all the fierceness of an irritable man attacked Hume, supposedly responsible for his unsuccessful relocation to England. He accused Hume of being hostile to him, spread rumors of a "conspiracy" between Hume and the philosophes of Paris who had supposedly decided to "disgrace" him, Rousseau, and even began to send letters with these accusations throughout Europe. Forced to defend himself, Hume published A Concise and Genuine Account of the Dispute between Mr. Hume and Mr. Rousseau. Hume and Mr. Rousseau, 1766). The following year Rousseau left England.

The last years of his life

Until 1768 Hume served as Assistant Secretary of State for the Northern Territories.

In 1769 Hume resigned and returned to his native city - very rich (with an annual income of £1,000). In the same year Hume founded the Philosophical Society in Edinburgh, where he acted as secretary. This circle included Adam Ferguson, Adam Smith, Alexander Monroe, William Cullen, Joseph Black, Hughes Blair and others.

In all, Hume wrote forty-nine essays during his life, which, in various combinations, survived nine editions during his lifetime. These included essays on economic questions, philosophical essays such as "On Suicide" and "On the Immortality of the Soul," and partly moral and psychological essays such as "The Epicurean," "The Stoic," "The Platonist," and "The Skeptic. Precisely when many of Hume's essays were written is difficult to determine. Following in the tradition of the essayist philosophers M. Montaigne and F. Bacon, Hume sets out his views so that the reader can clearly see the practical conclusions and applications arising from them.

Shortly before his death, Hume wrote his Autobiography. In it he described himself as a meek, open, sociable and jovial man who had a weakness for literary fame, which, however, "never hardened my character, in spite of all the frequent failures.

In the early 1770s Hume returned repeatedly to work on his last major work, Dialogues on Natural Religion, the first draft of which dates back to 1751. The forerunner of these "dialogues" was apparently a pamphlet on religion published anonymously by Hume in 1745. This pamphlet has not yet been found.

Hume did not dare to publish the Dialogues in his lifetime, not unreasonably fearing persecution from church circles: since 1770, Professor James Beatty of Aberdeen had published five times a vehement anti-Humean pamphlet, An Experience on the Nature and Immutability of Truth: Against Sophistry and Skepticism. But when, in the spring of 1775, Hume showed the first signs of serious illness, he decided to take care of the posthumous publication of his last work and included a special clause about it in his will. His executors avoided this clause long enough, also fearing serious trouble.

In the spring of 1775, Hume developed symptoms of an illness that at first did not inspire him with any apprehension. The disease, however, proved incurable and fatal. Hume died a year later of cancer of the bowel (according to other reports, liver) at his home on St. David Street in New Town on August 25, 1776, at the age of 65.

A. Smith's report on how the philosopher spent his last days, which was simultaneously sent on November 9, 1776 as an open letter to the publisher of Hume's works, caused a scandal among the Edinburgh public. A. Smith wrote that Hume divided his last hours between reading Lucian and playing whist, sneered at tales of an afterlife, and quipped about the naivety of his own hopes that the religious prejudices of the people would soon disappear.

At that time Edinburgh pastors and Oxford theologians published several pamphlets against the late philosopher.

Guards had to be kept at Hume's grave for a week to prevent Edinburgh religious fanatics from desecrating the thinker's grave.

On his tombstone Hume bequeathed the following inscription: "David Hume. Born April 26, 1711, died August 25, 1776." "I leave it to posterity," he said, "to add the rest.

General provisions

Philosophical historians generally agree that Hume's philosophy has the character of skepticism in terms of epistemology. However, if traditional antique skepticism within the principle of "Εποχή", in the words of Sextus Empiricus himself, only destroyed by fire of doubt any positive knowledge about the world, offering no other solution than "abstention from judgment," Hume's skepticism has more of a methodological than an ontological character. I. Kant, describing Hume's approach, made a famous remark about Hume's landing of the "ship of knowledge" after the hole of "dogmatism" on the "shoal of skepticism" - that is, interpreting Hume's task not in the context of total skepticism as a basic philosophical strategy, but in terms of preliminary cleaning of the cognitive space necessary for further research moves. This approach seems all the more justified and correct, since Hume himself viewed epistemology as a precursor to ethics and politics within the question "what can we know?

Hume was greatly influenced by the empiricists John Locke and George Berkeley, as well as by Pierre Bayle, Isaac Newton, Samuel Clarke, Francis Hutcheson, and Joseph Butler. But Hume was also influenced by the rationalists, Descartes, Leibniz, and others.

Beginning structurally his philosophy with the theory of knowledge, Hume, in his first major work, Treatise on Human Nature (1739-1740), nevertheless points out the preparatory character of gnoseology in the context of his general philosophical system. From these comments directly follows the secondary character of gnoseological constructions in the context of more important, in his view, philosophical tasks, namely, the problems of morality and morality, as well as the social interaction of people in modern society. Later, it is the cognitive problematic that will come to the forefront (it will be central in the Study of Human Cognition (1748-1758)) of Hume's philosophy, including in his critics, pushing aside and overshadowing everything else.

Theory of Knowledge

Traditionally, Hume's theory of cognition has been regarded as a version of eighteenth-century empiricism-sensualism. It is true that Hume assumed that our cognition begins with experience. However, he considered, like other colleagues like J. Locke and J. Berkeley, it is never reduced only to simple copying of experience: in our cognition we always have attempts to go beyond the experimental framework, to supplement the experimental data with connections and conclusions not presented in experience directly, to explain what is not clear and unclear from the data of experience alone. Finally, our cognition is always closely connected with fantasies and the creation of non-existent objects and worlds, as well as containing ample opportunities for all kinds of delusions. Experience gives cognition only "raw material," from which the cognitive activity of the mind obtains concrete cognitive results and on the basis of which it constructs the general view of the cognized reality.

Hume sees his task as follows: on the basis of the achievements of experimental science to give a full and accurate description of human nature in all its manifestations - cognition, affects, morals and morals, politics, religion, etc. The undoubted successes of natural science in its fields should serve here as an additional incentive to research. However, in order to apply the experimental method correctly, it is necessary to understand the essence of the method as an epistemological phenomenon, the core of which, as we know, is the same widely interpreted experience.

To find experience among the contents of our mind (reason, intellect) is very simple - the strongest vivid and colorful perceptions of the latter are connected with it, while the contents of memory and imagination will always be paler in relation to primary experience. Experience thus consists of vividly saturated impressions, and impressions are divided into internal (affects or emotions) and external (perceptions or sensations (perceptio)). Ideas (memories of memory and images of imagination) are "pale copies" of impressions. The whole content of the mind consists of impressions and ideas-that is, impressions (and ideas as their derivatives) are what constitute the content of our inner world, if you will-the soul or consciousness (Hume would also question the existence of the latter two in substantive terms as part of his original theory of cognition).

External impressions are already given to the mind in the experience of a certain connection with each other (so I see a car passing by, snow falling and pedestrians on the sidewalk, etc.), but the mind has the possibility in its own ideas both simply to copy and reproduce these connections (in memory) and to build its own connections (in imagination). After perceiving the material, the cognitive mind always processes these representations-it folds simple ideas into complex ones and decomposes complex ideas into simple ones.

As a rule, impressions themselves are the sources of complex (decomposable) ideas, while simple (then indecomposable, atomic) ideas are the products of the work of the mind, but, emphasizes Hume, whatever idea in our mind we take, we can always theoretically trace its connection with the impression that generated it, assuming the atomicity of all perceptions.

Ideas, therefore, can be

Complex ideas can be of three kinds - relations, modus (properties such as roundness as a property of sets of bodies or moisture as a property of liquids), and substances (bases and beginnings of sets such as matter or spirit).

Like any complex idea, all three kinds are only sums of simple ideas, not even always present in the same place (modus), each kind possessing an illusion of its own gnoseological and ontological consistency in varying degrees of strength. While the abstractness of modus is immediately detectable, the abstractness of relations (the nature of substances will be discussed below) needs further clarification.

The relations between ideas are possible as follows: identities, similarity and difference, quality and quantity (number), adjacency in space and time, contradiction and causality. It is necessary to pay attention that we are speaking here exclusively about relations between ideas in mind and only between them, and not between real objects outside the mind. It has already been shown that experience gives mind a certain picture of external impressions (perceptions), and mind can both copy this picture and reconstruct and supplement it (if it considers it incomplete), i.e. change relations between ideas and their relations.

Relationships in this case are divided into two groups, because the mind in combining ideas into complex ideal structures can:

In the first case, the mind always deals only with so-called "necessary" truths (that is, truths which not only cannot be changed arbitrarily, but which cannot even be imagined (demonstrated) otherwise - their very nature excludes for the mind any other state of affairs). We find this kind of truth in mathematical knowledge as well as in formal logic. In this case the simple ideas of numbers, figures, their relations and the rules of their connection, extracted from experience, appear as the structural units of analytical (deductive) deduction on their basis the properties of new complex ideas and their relations (the simple idea of a point generates the idea of a straight line as a distance between two points, the idea of a straight line generates the idea of an angle, a triangle, etc., the idea of a unit added to a number gives rise to the idea of a number series, while division by a unit gives rise to a number taken as a whole ("once"). Only on this ground can the mind know something - know in the sense of possessing strict, unchanging, necessary truths.

Note: Here Hume intervenes in one of the scientific debates that began in the time of R. Descartes, that is, in the beginning of the classical science of the New Age, but which continues to this day, namely, in the dispute about the origin and nature of mathematics-algebra, arithmetic, geometry-Hume insists on its analytic nature and gives it up entirely to the mind. This recognition, however, sounds like a verdict in Hume's mouth: mathematical truths belong only to the world of ideas constructed by the mind and cannot have anything to do with the external world as the source of all external impressions. Moreover, their analytic character deprives them of any content: all judgments of mathematics can act only as clarifications of initial premises, but not as a source of fundamentally new ("synthetic") knowledge.

It turns out that this is where the mind stands on firm feet and no less firm ground - because this is where two important intellectual practices of the mind (mind-judgment) work effectively: intuitive (the mind's direct visual discernment of truth as a spontaneous simple agreement with itself) and demonstrative (the mind's conviction that there are no other options of idea association, when this impossibility is demonstrated to the mind again visually). Nevertheless, knowledge based on relations of ideas, being renewed, expanded and developed, remains only knowledge of mind's own inner world as its infinite clarification (analytica). Can the mind gain a similar (necessary) knowledge, but of a synthetic character? The relations of the first group cannot be the source of such knowledge, but there are also relations of the second group - similarity, contiguity and causality.

However, in this case the mind is faced with a difficult and, as it will turn out, unsolvable problem: how to get not just new knowledge (new ideas) from the available knowledge (information, ideas), but knowledge, preserving all the characteristics of necessary truth, not accidental? In other words, how to deduce from one fact (idea of a fact) with necessity the existence of another fact (another idea of another fact), if ideas themselves are atomic, separated from each other and can be arbitrarily put both in one and in other, opposite relations?

The mind can freely unite (associate) ideas beyond a number of impressions-perceptions, as was mentioned above, by similarity, contiguity in space and time, as well as by the presence of causal connection between them. The first two relations obviously contain no necessity, since the mind can imagine any thing both similar to the given thing and adjacent to it in space and time. As a relation possibly containing necessity, there remains, therefore, only the causal relation. This is how it appeared in Hume's contemporary classical natural science of the New Age. Hume's analysis of causality, however, shows the inherent impossibility of such associations being necessary because

The impossibility of necessity of any relations of ideas of the second type is not only substantiated by Hume, but also demonstrated by him, which makes the picture even simpler and clearer: if the association of ideas is necessary, all other associations automatically become impossible (or - demonstratively obviously not true) just as it is impossible to imagine a triangle in Euclidean geometry with the sum of angles more or less than 180 degrees, (a+b) unequal (b+a) or a circle less or more than 360 degrees. We see a body falling down from a height. But we can also imagine (not see!) the opposite - here works the imagination as a faculty of the mind, which costs nothing to imagine bodies flying up, the sun rising not in the east but in the west, etc., just as we can easily imagine snow outside the window in clear weather. Any causal series can be

In this way Hume not only reveals and describes the traditional weakness of the inductive method (as the basic method of empiricism), but also shows the impossibility of any necessary (and therefore strictly true) synthetic cognition.

That which is false by virtue of demonstrative proof encapsulates a contradiction, and that which encapsulates a contradiction is impossible to imagine. But when it comes to something factual, no matter how strong the evidence from experience may be, I can always imagine the opposite, although I cannot always believe it.

However, Hume does not argue that the connection (causal or any other necessary character) between facts (ideas of facts) is completely absent; he only argues that no experience contains it. Our truths themselves may well have a necessary character, but there is no way for our mind to detect and substantiate this character. The connection between impressions is given by experience, but the mind can in no way unequivocally declare that it is necessary. The connection between ideas can be produced by the mind, but the mind can never say that the opposite connection is totally excluded. In other words, the mind is unable to discover the very principle of necessity in its work of associating simple and complex (at the same time, unchanged in the course of changes of relations between them) ideas - connection is possible both in one and other and third ways, even if these ways yield the opposite result. Therefore, the mind is never able to independently determine which way of connecting ideas is the right one - this principle is found not in the mind, but outside it, as a certain transcendence, of which the mind itself can say nothing. The only way for the mind to determine is, therefore, to follow experience and the order of impressions-perceptions given to it.

The fact is that following impressions-perceptions, the mind involuntarily obeys their order and gets used to expect some recurrent relations of perceptions (an apple is round, a material body falls down, the sun rises in the east every morning). The habit of the mind to expect a certain order develops into a belief, and then into the belief that this will always be the case. The mind thus discovers the principle of the association of ideas according to similarity, contiguity, and causality, not in itself, not in itself, but outside itself, without answering the question of the origin of this principle or its nature, and without inventing any hypotheses about it.

Thus, reason is powerless to independently substantiate the idea of causality (as well as similarity and contiguity) as a necessary connection between ideas. It only uses the series of perceptions already given to it in its constructions, blindly following it, and trusting it, but not illuminating the way of the cognizer with its light. As I. Newton noted, describing the basic attitude of the New Age, "one should not invent any nonsense at random, nor should one avoid similarities in nature, for nature is always simple and always agrees with itself" This must be taken for granted - the mind must refuse to put forward fruitless and empty hypotheses, otherwise the mind (reason) will be unable to discover anything and to know anything. By limiting the mind in this way, we free it from its own illusions for its own cognitive work. The mind can follow experience, it can doubt experience, but it must clearly understand the moment of detachment from all experience.

In Hume's own view, it is not a question of belittling reason--it is a question of the mind beginning to see its own powers and possibilities, holding back from fantasy where fantasy is easiest to escape into. The greatness of reason is to say in response to a question "I don't know" - if the question really has no answer based on experience.

The revelation of the mind's non-self-involvement in the question of causality was the first step not so much in banishing and disavowing reason as in the mind's self-discovery of its true place in the cognitive process-not as a demiurge, but only as Kai, putting together an unknown word "eternity" from unknown splinters of the word.

Hume has consistently held the idea that

These conclusions are reproduced again and again in the sections on the idea of existence, space-time, force and energy, etc.

Consequently, the guide in life is not reason, but habit. It alone compels the mind in all cases to assume that the future corresponds to the past. No matter how easy this step may seem, the mind would never for all eternity be able to take it.

Intellectual practice, therefore, can easily and demonstratively generate and comprehend differences, while the nature of identity for different and independent ideas remains initially outside of it, appearing as something mysterious, random and absolutely opaque, about which one can fantasize a lot, but about which one cannot comprehend (and, therefore, generate-affirm) with necessity. Numbers and figures are identical, but are things and their properties identical in experience? One can replace identity with similarity - and only that. What does it mean to say that the same is the same as the same?

Identity is truly terra incognita for the cognizing mind, even though it is forced to make identification constantly. Each object appears to the mind as different from others and from itself in time - but also, above all, as identical with itself. Here the mind comes to the fundamental problem of the existence of substance, which, if present, must stop the mind's fruitless wanderings within the world of atomic ideas and their association. Substantiality can become the basis of identity, including acting as the common source of the multitude.

But the mind begins to wander not only in questions of necessity and substantiality in the external world, but also in the question of its own subjectivity. What does it mean to say, "I am I," given in experience and comprehended through experience? The question of the nature of the Self must, like everything else, be reduced to the realm of experience, it is there that the answer must be sought. But if we ask the mind this question (note that the question is asked in this form and not in any other: "what is the Self (my self) in itself?"), the mind has no other way of answering it except by declaring the Self a flow of impressions. Indeed, the source of all information (and the knowledge formed on its basis) is nothing but impressions and nothing but impressions, internal and external. What kind of impressions correspond to the idea of "I"? From what impressions is it derived, if it is a simple idea? From what impressions is it formed, if it is complex?

It is easy to find that the Self is present in every perception, like the idea of existence. "It's snowing wet and raining outside this afternoon"-this judgment, expressing the content of some perception, asserts the existence of rain, wet snow, and today, as well as the existence of someone to whom all these perceptions are attached (you can call him whatever you want, for example, the Self). The I is the one who perceives, but the I does not represent any independent content. The self is only the sum of perceptions: cold, heat, rain, pain, satiety, - but what the self is apart from all perceptions, in itself, the mind is not able to determine. It cannot even determine whether it exists objectively (as well as whether the world objectively exists), because the idea of existence is always attached to what the mind thinks about, unless the mind consciously invents a "beautiful mountain" or a "golden island," but tries to comprehend the world and itself in it.

Thus, at this point, the mind has no choice but to recognize the infinite non-identity of the self, or rather the undefined and undetectable nature of such an identity in the primary stream of perceptions. The questions "what is the self of the empirical subject?" or "what is the empirical subject itself?" are meaningless, for the mind is unable to get at this "self" (that is, self-identity): it can suppose it as a possibility, but not assert it.

The same applies to the external world, given to the mind only as a flow of impressions-perceptions. And what is the source of perceptual sensation? Hume answers that there are at least three hypotheses:

Hume poses the question of which of these hypotheses is correct. To do this, we must compare these types of perceptions. But the mind is closed within the boundaries of perception, which constitute the basis of its content, and cannot find out what is beyond these boundaries (though - it can assume some content there, which, in fact, it does constantly (see "introjection"), but without grounds). So, the question of what is the source of sensation is a fundamentally unsolvable question for our mind. Anything can be, but we can never verify it. There is no rational evidence for the existence of the external world. The existence of objective reality can be neither proved nor disproved-this is Hume's general conclusion-which, of course, does not yet mean asserting the non-existence of the world or the self at all. Hume asserts only the impossibility of asserting the existence or non-existence of a material (external to the mind) substance. Thus, there can be no substances for the mind, or, more precisely, the mind cannot use their qualities and properties to explain nature, since the mind itself is not rooted in their being and they are not rooted in its being.

Otherwise: experience gives no impressions of any "inner" (spiritual) or "outer" (material) substance.

In 1876 Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term agnosticism to denote his own position, which could not be labeled atheistic, theistic, deistic, pantheistic, etc. T. Huxley called upon Hume and Kant as allies. I, Huxley argued, can claim nothing about the existence of the external world or any necessity for it and in it. But the modern understanding of agnosticism primitively links this position with a simple denial of the cognizability of the world. Was Hume an agnostic in the latter sense?

Indeed, a number of points in Hume's theory give the impression that Hume asserts the absolute impossibility of cognition. This is not entirely true. Rather, on the contrary, Hume asserts the impossibility of absolute human knowledge. The mind knows the content of consciousness, so the world in consciousness (in itself) is known to it. That is the mind has as a given the world which is in itself, but it never learns what the world itself is, does not learn the essence of the world, it is possible to learn only its phenomena, that is, some external accidental references to it. This direction in philosophy is called phenomenalism. Most of the theories of modern Western philosophy are built on this basis, asserting the insolubility of the so-called basic question of philosophy. Hume, on the other hand, takes an even more cautious stance with respect to phenomenalism: he does not assert the incognizability of the external world, he only doubts it, asserts the inconsistency of the mind's claims to the right to possess absolute truth, as well as the possibility to know the legislator of nature.

Causation in Hume's theory is the result of habit followed by the mind. The world around us is a stream of impressions, the source of which the mind does not know. And man, the human self, or rather the empirical subject, is for the mind a bundle of perceptions. This is the limit of mind's conclusions, and going beyond it automatically leads to "concoction of hypotheses" of various kinds - from religious to refined philosophical ones. Again, the mind is not forbidden to make hypotheses, it just has to remember that they are only hypotheses.

Note that all of the above does not allow us to characterize Hume's views as solipsism, although some authors describe Hume's doctrine as such, a clearly erroneous characterization. Hume's doctrine is in no way solipsistic because a) it questions the existence of the subject and its representations as the basis of all objective reality; b) it does not in any way diminish this reality in favor of the subject. The empirical subject who cognizes reality with his own mind and the reality given to him in the fullness of experience are absolutely ontologically equal - this is what Hume emphasizes when he repeatedly stresses his rejection of the solipsistic position.

Thus, the inquiring mind, seeking to get to the very foundations of cognitive practice, discovers that all questioning of this kind is a kind of self-digging or self-sabotaging of the mind. The main dilemma he faces is the conflict between the assumption of objective reality as an external knowable world and the affirmation of his own internal ideal construction as the fruit of intellectual work. This dilemma is, above all, a dilemma between objectivity and subjectivity, as well as between chance and necessity. Either everything in the world is necessary - but then this world is completely identical with the world of ideas (mathematical objects and logical laws) and is only a subjective projection of the mind (and then such really becomes solipsistic), because the mind sees (demonstrates) necessity only within its constructions. Or it exists objectively - that is, independently of mind and its ideas; but then there can be no necessity in such a world (more precisely, mind cannot assert it, since no necessity can be demonstrated here, and therefore it turns out to be doubtful). Experience acquaints the mind with the state of affairs in the stream of impressions-perceptions; habit (which creates the appearance of necessary connections) makes the mind transfer this knowledge to any similar state of affairs in the future, although experience does not give the mind any guarantees in this respect.

I have already proved that reason, acting independently and according to its most general principles, unconditionally undermines itself and leaves not the slightest evidence of any judgment either in philosophy or in ordinary life. We are saved from such complete skepticism by one special and seemingly trivial property of our imagination, namely, the fact that we only barely proceed to a deep analysis of things. So... should we not admit of any subtle and detailed reasoning? Consider carefully the implications of such a principle. Accepting it, you completely destroy all science and all philosophy ... Recognizing the specified principle and rejecting all refined reasoning, we get confused in the most obvious absurdities. By rejecting this principle and leaning towards the said reasoning, we will completely undermine the authority of human knowledge. Thus, we are left with a choice between false reason and no reason at all. As for me, I do not know what is to be done in this case... Intense consideration of the various contradictions and imperfections of human reason has so affected me, so inflamed my head, that I am ready to reject all faith, all reasoning, and cannot accept a single opinion even more probable or plausible than another. Where am I and what am I? To what causes do I owe my existence and to what state will I return? Whose mercy must I seek and whose wrath must I fear? What beings surround me, and on whom do I have any influence, or who has any influence on me? All these questions leave me utterly confused, and it seems to me that I am in a most desperate situation, surrounded by deep darkness and utterly deprived of the use of all my members and faculties. Fortunately, if reason is unable to dispel this gloom, nature itself is sufficient for the purpose, which cures me of this philosophical melancholy, of this delirium, either by lessening the mood described, or by entertaining me with a vivid impression which strikes my senses and makes these chimeras fade. I dine, I play a game of tritrack, I talk and laugh with my friends; and if, after devoting three or four hours to these entertainments, I wished to return to the speculations described above, they would seem so cold, strained and ridiculous that I could not bring myself to indulge in them again.

In the above quotation is the quintessence of Hume's theory of knowledge, and of philosophy in general. It is true that the mind (reason or intellect) is capable of questioning its own principles and its own practice, but this questioning is capable of completely blocking the activity of the mind, just as an attempt to comprehend the procedure of walking would make it impossible to take (in practice) even one step. The mind, therefore, can only discover for itself its own limits, but is incapable of overcoming them, remaining within the constructions of its own imaginative capacity, even though it feeds the illusion that imaginary worlds lead the mind to the transcendent. Nevertheless, the mind gets its hands on a very important achievement: it understands the difference between the real state of affairs (in the flow of impressions) and its own fantasies.

The key to the solution of the problem is not mind, which is already, at first sight, disavowed by Hume (and, together with mind, the rationalist line of empiricism represented by Locke and even, to some extent, Hobbes), but human nature, the study of which is not limited to the problems of epistemology. The point, however, is that Hume does not at all (as he himself thinks) disavow mind - he only shows its dependence on something more fundamental: on human nature and, more broadly, on nature in general. Here mind is not relegated, but elevated - in its self-understanding and self-restraint. It is no longer the dogmatic mind of everyday commonplace "common sense" blindly following nature (although for the common man this is enough), but the mind that understands the impossibility of achieving in its positions the absolute knowledge sought, that understands its own fundamental openness and incompleteness.

Generally speaking, a certain amount of doubt, caution, and modesty should be inherent in every reasonably prudent person in all his investigations and decisions.

Ethics and Social Philosophy

As Hume intended, the theory of cognition and the initial skeptical attitude became a kind of springboard for solving problems of morality and morals (parts two (teaching on affects), three (teaching on morals) and four (teaching on society, religion, politics, etc.) of his Treatise on Human Nature), but Hume's continuing teaching has not gathered a hundredth of the critical attention directed at his gnoseology and ontology. Moreover, even after the publication of Tractatus... Hume was forced to clarify his theory of knowledge over and over again, and even in preparing an abridged summary of his Treatise, he left the last parts out of the brackets simply by announcing their existence.

Nevertheless, the problems of ethics and social philosophy constitute almost the main part of Hume's entire teaching, arousing a lively authorial interest throughout his philosophical work. In addition to his Treatise... Hume addresses moral, social and political problems in numerous essays, most of which have survived and were published during Hume's lifetime.

In all his writings on moral and socio-political philosophy, Hume retains the attitude he formulated at the end of Book I of Treatise..., although later he will be more careful to smooth out the edges of the issue: man is part of nature and must trust and live in harmony with it. In other words, man (the human mind) cannot count on himself in this life--he has no choice but to rely on experience and make use of it.

There are a few more important points to make here:

(a) The common man-object, guided by common sense, is already in fact carrying out a project of trust in nature, but he does so spontaneously, under the influence of circumstances, without understanding either the essence or the nature of such trust; this can be the source of the fragility of faith, of human attempts to act apart from nature, independently, and so forth;

(b) The philosophical mind must seek not to free itself from nature, but to understand its own profound interest in nature, which is capable of giving man everything he needs to live, including an understanding of his own and nature's inner and outer structure; the task of philosophy thus becomes not to transform nature or to free itself from it, but to demonstrate its positive power and role in the very process of human existence.

Reason cannot dispel the clouds of doubt, but Nature itself (our human nature) has the power to do so, and forces us in our practical lives with absolute necessity to live, and communicate, and act just as other people do.

Hume's ethical teaching is logically preceded by the doctrine of affects (internal, secondary perceptions-impressions of reflexion), which, in turn, acts as a link between Hume's theory of cognition and ethics, politics, and political economy. If nature is the source of primary impressions, pointing by its very force to their primordiality and to the obviousness of the connections between them (the mind can fantasize an apple flying up and not down from a branch, but it cannot make any effort to perceive this perceptually, hence the liveliness of the impression itself lets the mind understand what the situation is), then the source of secondary impressions becomes man himself - disavowed as an empirical subject and bearer of spiritual substance in the first part of Hume's teaching.

Affects are of the following types:

These types are mostly overlapping sets, that is, the same affect may belong to different types depending on the particular situation of analysis, but it cannot be both direct and indirect at the same time.

Every affect assumes the presence of the Self and is closely related to it. While in the perception of the external world it is indeed difficult or impossible to separate the perceived from the perceiver (and therefore both can be thought of as quanta of impressions and their sums), the internal impressions of reflexion point us directly to the subject - this is the I love, this is the I hate, this is how I perceive. Indirect affects are of particular interest here, since they implicitly include not only the figure of the self, but also the figure of the other person. Our self is the object of affects, but not the cause of them. Since the relationship here is built between two ideas, it is quite possible to use the appropriate terminology - because the relationship here is built between ideas. The first idea (the second (in this case, the self as object). The idea of the Self, Hume thus notes, is originally given to us (mind) and it is this idea that gives a special liveliness and vividness to the ideas directly connected with us. In other words, the critique of the Self as a spiritual substance presented in the first part of "Treatise..." had not ontological, but purely methodological character within the general framework of the critique of mind and its attitude to independent absolute cognition.

Here again it is worth recalling the different ways in which the various contents of our inner world (mind) are connected: the association of ideas (similarity, contiguity, and causality), the association of impressions-perceptions (only by similarity), finally, the association of affects. On this basis, Hume tries to justify in a naturalistic way the origin and development of a series of affects, associating them with the feeling of pleasure-displeasure. Here Hume stays true to himself, for pleasure is a signal from nature that one occupies the right place in its structure, that one is properly united or connected to it ("garmonia"), just as the force and vitality of impressions do not let the mind be deceived by the reality or fantasy of the events taking place. On the other hand, in addition to our own feelings of pleasure and displeasure, we are greatly influenced by the opinions of others (judgment and censure). The context thus becomes not purely natural (naturalistic), but social, which also includes and defines the human self. This important quality of sensitivity to the Other (and to one's own environment in general) is what Hume calls sympathy. It is sympathy that makes man the object of the need for external evaluations, it is sympathy that has the capacity to represent the opinions of others as the self's own opinions, it is sympathy that thus becomes one of the strongest foundations of belief in the existence of an external world inhabited by others. Finally, it is sympathy that has the capacity to convert affect into an external impression.

At this point, Hume turns to the phenomenon of the will as the primary source of human activity in the world. By will, Hume understands the inner impression that we experience (realize) when we intentionally (knowingly) initiate some new bodily movement or perception. The starting point of volition is emotion and affect, not reason; the difference between volition and affect is clear: affect is itself independent of us, moreover, it is actually what objectifies the self; the will is the direct manifestation of our activity.

The will itself, on closer examination, is again reducible to affects or, at any rate, is something very close to an impression originating from pleasure and from pain, just as affects do. It seems, however, that the philosopher is not quite sure of this point, as the following quotation proves: "Of all the immediate actions of suffering and pleasure the most remarkable is the will; and although it is not actually among the affects, but since a full understanding of its nature and properties is necessary to explain them, we shall make it here the subject of investigation. Please note that by will I mean nothing else than that inner impression which we experience and are conscious of when we consciously initiate some new movement of our body or a new perception of our spirit. This impression, like the previous ones, pride and humiliation, love and hate, is impossible to define. <...> But the most characteristic point of Hume's ethical philosophy is the thesis that "reason can never resist passion in controlling the will.

Hume saw moral feeling as the basis of morality and moral behavior, but he denied free will, believing that all our actions are determined by affects. At best, free will according to Hume can be understood as a possibility for the mind to make spontaneous choices, which, however, is easily eliminated by a sufficiently powerful affect. This is easily explained by the context of what was said above:

(a) Reason cannot independently make any rules for the world and the Self, for it is not even able to detect either the Self or the Outer World, nor the need for the world or the behavior of the Self; so Hume quickly and effectively disavows any attempt to rationalize ethics and guide humanity toward happiness and the good along certain rationally justified paths;

b) all rules of behavior are already implicitly present in the context of nature and society--you simply have to follow these rules, and nothing more: they do not require enormous exertion or unprecedented sacrifices from everyone, they merely enable everyone to live and work among others for their own good, without disturbing others or taking more for themselves than the world needs or can provide; in fact here Hume comes very close to the ethical models of two other great Scots, Hutcheson and Smith, but with one difference: he is not trying to give his model additional

c) the dependence of the will on affects does not remove responsibility from the individual (nature and the outer world in general give enough to man both in terms of impressions and in terms of affects so that man can do the right thing (note again that Humean morality and morality does not require from man anything supernatural, no super-contraction and does not even actually use the modality of obligation, let alone threaten with terrible punishment for apostasy); man must first of all care about his behavior and then about the behavior of others.

In his socio-political philosophy, already beyond his Treatise, Hume, in particular, sharply opposes the "social contract" theory, both in the Lockean and Hobbesian versions. Hume's skepticism does not destroy this model, but only clearly exposes its construction. His rejection of the "social contract" is motivated, at first glance, by the fact that the causes of the "social state" - even if we can describe them optimally - add nothing to the understanding of the state itself. The consequences can change in an infinitely changeable world - which is what the consistently conceived world of pure empiricism turns out to be - but they change so radically that they become completely independent of the original cause.

The fact that the social so-called "general rules" are based on coercion and fear (not Hobbes's metaphysical absolute fear, but the earthly fear of violence and punishment) does not at all cancel the fact that today man is able to act in accordance with these rules quite freely, not as a subject, but as a citizen. A parallel to this is found in the theory of cognition - and here this criticism is clarified from a different perspective. The skeptical "limitation of reason" to habit and faith emerges not simply as a questioning of the possibility of human cognitive capacity, not merely as a critique of Lockean "empirical rationalism or rationalist empiricism," but as an essential property, an attribute of reason itself--as the capacity of reason to undermine its own principles. Consistently held rationality inevitably leads to fundamental irremovable contradictions (for example, between the attitude to think of objects as external and independent sources of perceptions and the attitude to causal association) and further to insanity and delirium. Therefore, the question of original causes is meaningless.

Here - as with Hobbes - in Hume's system there is a negative place for God as the opaque unknowable basis of all principles, as the negative frontier of thinking. Even if there is a God, the mind cannot justify itself by reference to Him. Nor should the mind wonder about the essence or existence of this absolute origin, just as it should not wonder about the existence of the external world, not only because the latter is simply unknowable, but because the mind itself realizes that it is not a prime cause but a simulacrum: it is pointless to look for a black cat in a dark room if we never find out if it is there.

Hume paid particular attention to problems of economics (here he was close to Adam Smith and other representatives of the Scottish school, devoting to them several small but very informative essays. Modern scholars distinguish three levels of analysis in these essays.

The first level is economic psychology (economic motivations, incentives to work). Here the analysis is a natural history of "the formation and development of trade. Hume identifies four motivations for labor:

He notes, however, that man is driven not only by the desire for pleasure, but also by many other "instincts" that induce him to do things for their own sake, that is, things that do not automatically lead to results that are in his interest (cf. the doctrine of affects and morality).

The second level of Hume's economic analysis is his political economy, or analysis of market relations. In criticizing the economic doctrines of his day, Hume tried to show that their main flaw was that they did not pay enough attention to economic growth and the psychological and other factors associated with it.

Hume formulated his quantitative theory of money flows (in his essay "On the Balance of Trade") in a critique of the mercantilist position. According to Hume, without restrictions on foreign trade, money would leave the country. Hume's position was that because of the effect of money flows on prices in trading countries, the amount of money in each country automatically tends to an equilibrium in which exports are balanced by imports. First, Hume believed that any attempt, by restricting trade, to increase the amount of money in a country to a value greater than the equilibrium value was doomed to failure (assuming that money circulates only within the country), because money flow from abroad increases prices within the country relative to prices in other countries, thereby reducing exports and increasing imports, again causing money to flow out of the country. Second, Hume argued that the extent to which the flow of money into a country affects prices depends on the size of its total product. Consequently, it is the level of economic development of a nation, or its productive capacity, determined by the size of its population and the degree to which people persevere, that determines the amount of money a country can attract and retain.

In his essay "On Interest," Hume again challenged the mercantilists, who believed that the rate of interest was determined by the supply of money. Based on quantitative theory, Hume argued that an increase in the supply of money only raises all prices, thereby increasing the demand for loans to finance expenditures while keeping the interest rate unchanged. In fact, the rate of interest is determined by the supply of real capital. He looks at the impact of economic growth on the class structure of society and, through it, on economic incentives. Economic development causes the growth of the merchant class and the people involved in production - by putting money into production they reduce spending on consumption. This is also because the pursuit of profit generates a desire to accumulate wealth as a symbol of success in the economic game. As the new industrial classes receive a significant share of the growing national income, their desire to save leads to a marked increase in the supply of capital and a fall in interest rates.

An increase in the quantity of money, says Hume in his essay "On Money," (an increase in its absolute quantity as such) can lead not to an increase in price, but to an increase in economic activity. In tracing the effect of an increased supply of money on the economy, Hume gives a clear description of the multiplier effect. But, Hume notes, the stimulus effect, if caused by a short-term increase in the supply of money, cannot be sustained, while a long-term increase in the supply of money, by stimulating economic growth and changing spending and saving, can increase the supply of capital and lower the rate of interest.

In his essay "On Taxes," Hume discusses the view that an increase in taxes increases the ability to pay them because it equally stimulates the industriousness of the people. This was a position commonly held by the mercantilists; and it is known as the doctrine of the "benefit of poverty," by which the imposition of excise taxes on goods consumed by the poor was justified. Hume's position on this question is twofold. He noted, citing historical examples, that natural constraints, such as infertile soil, often stimulate industriousness, and wrote that artificial obstacles in the form of taxes might have the same effect. This view derives from Hume's ideas about the importance of the need for interesting activity as a motivation to work. He emphasized: in order for an activity to be interesting, it must be difficult and demanding. But Hume did not accept the doctrine of the "benefits of poverty" with its unconditional endorsement of high taxes on goods consumed by the poor, nor did he accept the position that any tax on the results of labor would inevitably reduce its supply.

The third - and final - level of Hume's economic teaching is his economic philosophy, which contains a positive assessment of a society based on commerce and industry. Given Hume's deep interest as a philosopher in moral issues, it is not surprising that one of his most important concerns was the moral dimensions of commercial and industrial growth. In his economic philosophy, three of the motives of labor mentioned above are present--the desire to consume, the desire for interesting activity, and the diversity of life. Hume viewed these as the ultimate ends that constitute the main components of an individual's happiness, for by creating new opportunities for consumption and interesting economic activity, economic growth contributes to the attainment of all these ends.

The aesthetic concept

Hume believed that aesthetic questions were questions about the feelings of the subject as such, and that aesthetics should be reduced to the problem of the emotional attitude of art consumers toward works of art. For Hume, the issue is the subjectivity of taste in general.

His further path of analysis is bifurcated. One line of reasoning leads to the position that aesthetic ideas are derived from impressions or at least are in a strictly ordered relation to them. This correspondence, which is in accord with Hume's thesis that ideas are derived from impressions, is rejected by the other line of reasoning: aesthetic ideas are themselves impressions, namely reflexive impressions. Hume chooses the path close to the second line. The aesthetic emotion is produced by aesthetic impressions.

In the third book of his Treatise on Human Nature, Hume writes that beauty is a quality that depends on people's attitude toward things. He supplements this statement by pointing out that this attitude depends on the feelings of egoism and sympathy, that is, on such components of human nature that look beyond the narrowly subjective world outward into the objective world. Hume's reasoning from this conclusion is that human nature has the capacity for variation, but only within the limits set by Nature, so that human nature places certain limits on variations in tastes. Not only that, but it provides the basis for the development of tastes that are approximately the same for the majority of mankind. Hume disagrees with extreme relativism in tastes and further connects "good taste" with a deep understanding of things, with freedom from ignorant prejudices, with a sense of proportionality and with the peculiarities of life in a given country. A common natural "standard (standard)," taste can be nurtured if properly and without illusion understand human nature. The beautiful comes close to what is experienced as useful.

Thus, Hume interprets the beautiful, first of all, as useful. In this case "usefulness" is considered not only as an individual benefit, but also as something more general, and "beautiful" becomes abstract, after which beautiful becomes an expression of the expedient in general. Hume moves even further away from narrow utilitarianism in aesthetics through his use of the principle of abstract altruism (that is, that which is useful to all people "pleases" them and me). Hume has a kind of reversal of notions: what is "likeable" and pleasurable, if only because of a vague awareness of some sort of appropriateness, becomes to our taste, he believes, inherently beautiful. Hume writes that aesthetic feeling is a special "cold" or "quiet" (hence, partly corrected by reason) passion, associated with subtle experiences and reflections and a special feeling. The Scottish thinker makes an attempt to clarify his position on the basis that associative mechanisms in the field of emotion (as well as in the field of moral feeling) operate in their own natural way.

In his essays, which deal with the problems of literature and art proper or deal with them to a considerable extent, Hume not only deals with theoretical questions, but also acts as a practitioner who creates works of undoubted aesthetic significance, as a publicist. His sense of realism prevails as a writer, although the essays "On the Norm of Taste" and "The Skeptic" retain provisions that do not change, but basically only clarify and supplement the relevant ideas of the Treatise. Hume questions the objective laws of artistic creativity and opposes "pure art," advocating the expulsion of falsehood and contrivance from literature and drama.

In his essay On the Refinement of Taste and Affect (published in 1741), Hume suggested that art should please the gentleman's soul, excite in it pleasant, gentle and delicate experiences that are accessible to the elite, but not to "the crowd.

In his essay "On the Norm of Taste," Hume argues that the beautiful exists only in the mind and constructs a series of subjective analogies in which he places sweetness and bitterness, happiness and sorrow, good and evil, the beautiful and the ugly. "The search for the truly beautiful or the truly ugly is as fruitless as the claim to establish what is authentically sweet and what is authentically bitter. Depending on the state of our senses, one and the same thing can be both sweet and bitter, and it is true that the proverb says that taste is not a matter of dispute. It is quite natural and even absolutely necessary to extend this axiom to both physical and spiritual tastes.

The most interesting essay in this regard is "On Simplicity and Sophistication of Style. Naturalness, according to Hume, is not only united with simplicity and truth in art, conditioning them and being conditioned by them, but can also be transformed, as in its own other way, into simplicity, triviality, lack of content and primitivism, and sometimes even border on rudeness and vulgarity. Refinement not only serves to embody fine taste and contributes to its education, but also easily degenerates into pretentious ornamentation, affectation, ornateness. Hume seeks that "middle ground" between extremes, which would serve as the key to normative aesthetics, just as he sought the "middle ground" in the rules of moral behavior. His yardstick is his personal preference for naturalness, simplicity, and "vital truth," and his aversion to false pomposity, empty originality, and the cheap pursuit of external effects. Unnaturalness disgusts Hume and he is convinced that it leads to the degradation of literature and art.

The essay On Tragedy contains a series of observations on the emotional states of art consumers, and here Hume skilfully applies his doctrine of the interaction of affects and the mechanics of associative relations. The interconnectedness of aesthetics and ethics is clearly revealed: they are united by the theory of "sympathy" as empathy and sympathy, which absorbed both Shaftesbury's considerations of so-called natural affects and Hutcheson's doctrine of "universal benevolence. Ethically, "sympathy" moderates people's selfish impulses, tames individuals' emotional wilderness and corrects their tastes and predilections. Altruistic feelings connect the beautiful and the useful. Hume sees the reason that experiencing the tragic elevates us and, moreover, in a peculiar, proper aesthetic way, in the fact that the primary effect of tragedy derives not from the awareness that what lies before us is illusion, deception, but, on the contrary, from fascination in readers, listeners, and spectators with the feeling of empathy with what happens in the imagination and performance. People forget that it is an illusion in front of them and take everything that happens seriously. Then empathy develops into sympathy, solidarity, and a keen interest in the fate of the characters on stage. The listener's and viewer's involvement with what seems to be true, their absorption in what seems to be the flesh and blood of life itself, all this instills in them the same states as those attributed by the authors to the heroes of their works. This, however, is not in itself an aesthetic experience, since the imitation of reality is pleasant if it achieves a high degree of cogency. It is still more of an epistemological satisfaction than an aesthetic one. But by experiencing the states and feelings of the characters, which is only possible with a highly gifted reproduction of life, the reader or viewer begins to worry about their fate, identifying himself with them. There is an association of their images with a sense of our personal self, "difficulties generate an emotion that inflames the dominant feeling (affection) in us... a pleasant feeling of affection is heightened by a sense of anxiety. This pleasant feeling can easily turn into an unpleasant and distressing one if the feeling of anxiety and worry reaches a degree of indignation, horror, and despair. The side feeling, intensifying, according to the law of association, also intensifies the feeling which was connected with it, but if it expands beyond all measure, it swallows up the latter. The feeling of great anxiety for the fate of the characters can itself become pleasant, but only if it is not excessive and if it is accompanied by eloquence and taste of the artist. Hume writes that the novelty and freshness of an impression derive from the originality of an idea. The imitation of the ordinary and the depiction of the new are poles apart. These components of artistic craftsmanship, outlined by Hume, act according to associative schemes: the more often they occur, the more actively they translate unpleasant affects into their opposite, that is, into affects that are pleasantly moving and uplifting. In the last lines of the essay "On Tragedy" are Hume's sharp criticisms of religious art. He accuses it of corrupting and relaxing the human spirit and spreading a sense of "passive suffering.

Of great interest are Hume's essays entitled "On How to Write Essays," "On the Emergence and Development of the Arts and Sciences," and "On Excellence in the Arts. Hume saw the threat to society not in the dissemination of knowledge but in the entrenchment of the ignorance and obscurantism inherited from the Middle Ages. In this respect he was in complete agreement with the most active Enlighteners of his time. In his essay "On How to Write an Essay" (1742), Hume continues the tradition of the major essayists of the past and argues that works of this genre solve the problems of education and cultural development of society. He proclaims the cooperation of scholars and philosophers, on the one hand, and writers and publicists, on the other, against "common enemies, the enemies of reason and the beautiful. Hume declares it his duty and mission to strengthen this commonwealth.

The essay "On Excellence in the Arts" is a panegyric to industry and commerce as powerful stimuli for cultural development. Hume links the rise and perfection of the arts to the progress of crafts and the growth of industrial enterprise. He draws attention to the fact that in many European languages the word "art" also means "craftsmanship" in any, especially creative, activity. Hume draws readers' attention to the interaction of economic and political phenomena with cultural and historical phenomena, which removes his former and often expressed thesis about the randomness of periods of rise and decline of arts and literature in the life of peoples. These thoughts and considerations of Hume aroused the fervent approval of C. Helvetius.

Whereas in his essay "On Eloquence" Hume recognized the dependence of oratory and publicism alone on the degree and character of the development of political life in the country, and otherwise did not rebel against the view that there is something inexplicable, unexpected and accidental in the development of the arts, in "On Improvement in the Arts" he concludes that their fate cannot be understood apart from a thoughtful study of their profound connections with other aspects of peoples' history.

A Critique of Religion

Hume devoted several works to religious views and attitudes, the most important of which are the Dialogues on Natural Religion. "The Dialogues were published after Hume's death in 1779 and he worked on them for many years until his death. The Dialogues were translated into German by Hamann in 1781; according to some reports, they were used by Kant in his work on the Prolegomena. "The Dialogues are conversations between an orthodox Christian (Demeus), a deist (Cleantus), and a skeptic (Philo), and the balance of power between them constantly changes - first Philo allies with Demeus, then against Demeus with Cleantus, etc.

"The Dialogues show the failure of the claims of religious consciousness to play a leading, all-explaining role in both knowledge and questions of morality. All people's ideas about divinity (if this idea is not inborn, but, like all ideas, has as its source and foundation experience) are nothing more than a combination of ideas which they acquire through reflection on the actions of their own minds. The unconscious anthropomorphism of rational theology in its knowledge of supernatural objects is therefore inevitably an illusion, just as the claims of natural philosophy to eternal truths in natural science are an illusion. Religion is only a different answer to the problem of ignorance than the mind prefers, but ignorance does not change from this fact. God is as much a fiction of the mind (imagination) as necessary reason is a fiction in the sense that it is thought arbitrarily, ad hoc, outside experience and subordinating experience to itself without any basis.

Nevertheless, Hume's critique of religion looks much milder than that of other Enlightenment figures such as Voltaire. Finding the groundlessness of religion's claims to an absolute explanation of the world order and exposing it as a "human, too human" matter, Hume nevertheless constantly reminds us that in similar claims reason is also powerless, that mind-mind is also unable to answer questions about the sources of impressions, necessary connection, etc. Religious fantasies are no worse and no better than the fantasies of the mind in the gnoseological sense. It is another matter what role religion plays in human life apart from cognitive questions.

Religious sentiment stems from fear of death and hope in the miraculous intervention of good forces. The touch of rational criticism on judgments of Creation calls them into question. Hume treats these judgments with undisguised irony and even (through his alter ego Philo) makes a number of remarks to the Creator for the careless execution of his "project. For example, an omnipotent God could have taken care to eliminate the causes of evil.

Clement observes that the theistic principle "represents the only cosmogonic system that can be made clear and complete," but meets an objection: does it not follow from the fact that nature is intelligent in its structure only that the principle which first established and maintained order in the universe has some analogy with other actions of nature, including the structure of the human spirit, human thinking.

Hume thus rejects all attempts to prove the existence of God known at the time, including the so-called "ontological argument. The Dialogues..." not only criticizes but also ridicules theists, pantheists, and deists, i.e., representatives of all the main "troops" of the theological "host. But by rejecting the belief in a miraculous, supernatural causality, Hume accepts (or, more accurately, admits) the belief in some ultimate cause or Original Cause. Rejecting all variants of religious constructions, he does not exclude the possibility of religion without its specific conceptual and figurative constructions and theological dogmas. There is no reason to believe in the existence of a God-personality, in his view, but there is reason to justify belief in some supreme "Cause in general. It is possible that "the causes of order in the universe probably have some remote analogy with the human mind. It turns out that the belief in objective causality, endorsed by Hume in his Treatise on Human Nature as a correct worldly position, is now used as a basis for assuming a belief in "divine" or, rather, rational causality in the sense of Original Cause or fatalistic determinism, "natural" fate, Destiny.

Since there is an analogy between the higher mind and the human mind, does this not mean that skeptical modesty (consciousness of one's own imperfection) of the latter is the most correct and human, in fact, way to the former? Religion should tolerate and accept rationalist criticism of itself, and the rationalist-skeptic should remember that religious faith is a powerful cultural factor, that doubts about the truth of doctrine are only "games of reason" and should not play the role of fomenter of base passions and release the energy of social disintegration and rebellion.

Hume valued historical knowledge, but he did not always agree with the Enlightenment-Progressivist view of history and its contents. "The experience brought by the study of history," Hume wrote in a short essay, "has also the advantage (apart from the fact that its source is world practice) that it acquaints us with human affairs without in any way concealing the most subtle manifestations of virtue. And, to tell the truth, I know of no other study or occupation that is as impeccable in this respect as history."

The occasion for writing the History of England (with the general growth of interest in history and its problems in the context of the Enlightenment) was the election of Hume as overseer of the Bar Society Library in Edinburgh in 1752. The library had an extensive collection and a rich archive. Hume did not go too far back in time and began his work with chapters on the accession to the throne of the Stuart dynasty. In doing so, Hume proclaimed the historian's freedom from any prejudice - national, political, pressure of authority, opinion of the crowd, etc. History was initially considered secularized - there was no place in his methodology for providentialism even to explain inexplicable and miraculous facts and phenomena.

First came the history of the Stuarts (1754), then the history of the house of Tudor (1759), finally (in 1762) the oldest history, from Britain to the time of Julius Caesar.

Describing his position as a historian, Hume wrote: "I have the audacity to think that I belong to no party or tendency Both those who write and those who read history are sufficiently interested in characters and events to feel lively feelings of praise and censure, and at the same time they have no personal interest in distorting their judgments. History is something in between in its depiction of morality and virtue, a "golden mean," between poetry (as a description and life of the struggle of passions, where there is no concern for truth) and philosophy (as abstract cold-notional speculation, in which living life itself disappears). In the first case virtue falls victim to self-interest, in the second the difference between vice and virtue can become so thin that even the most sophisticated ruler would not notice it.

However, this attitude was not understood by the reading public; in seeking to provide a picture of "objective reality" (as he understood it), Hume came under fire of criticism from a variety of positions.

I was met with shouts of censure, anger, and even hatred; Englishmen, Scots and Irishmen, Whigs and Tories, clerics and sectarians, free thinkers and saints, patriots and court flatterers, all united in their fury against the man who had not been afraid to shed a tear of regret over the death of Charles I and the Earl of Strafford. When the initial fervor of their anger cooled, something even more murderous happened: the book was consigned to oblivion. Miller (the publisher) informs me that within twelve months he had sold only forty-five copies. Truly, I don't know if there is a single person in all three kingdoms, prominent in position or scientific education, who would tolerate my book.

The methodological basis for Hume's work was H. Hallam's Constitutional History. From the worldly and psychological meanings of human actions, Hume turns to the search for the meaning of events in the history of England, finding these meanings of human actions in the formation of social structures and social institutions, i.e. actually representing these institutions, establishments and structures as sign-symbolic formations. Experience here makes it possible not only to draw certain conclusions, but also to complete the historical picture where there are gaps, for example, in Ancient History (which has often been interpreted by critics as Hume's subjectivism). The second and subsequent volumes of the capital work were already met with more attention and understanding - including from the ruling Whig party.

The main point, however, was that both the Tories and the Whigs rejected Hume's conception of the origin of revolutionary events: Hume saw their cause in the selfish calculations and base passions of the clergy, both orthodox and sectarian. Hume strongly condemned the "dangerous ecstasy (enthusiasm)" of the sectarian democrats of the Revolution, warning his readers that social projectionism and revolt often begin by inflaming religious passions. Hume was very hostile to the Levellers, who, he pointed out, came from among the rebellious sectarian poor.

Hume's intention was to promote, through his historical research, a rapprochement between factions, strata, and classes, and to express the unity of their interests, which is many times more important than the private disagreements that divide them. It was not without reason that Hume was most positive both in his history books and in his essays, not about the Revolution of 1649, a period of open conflict and civil war, but about its consequences, above all the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which launched the modern bourgeois-democratic order of Britain.

This was in line with Hume's conclusion in the second volume of his History: "The Revolution ushered in a new epoch in state organization and was associated with consequences which benefited the people more than those which flowed from the former government... And we may, without fear of exaggeration, say that since that time we have in our island if not the best system of government, then at least the most complete system of freedom that men have ever known. Concerned for the strength of the alliance of the dominant class forces in Britain, Hume advises both parties of the ruling class "not to go too far" in their political struggle for monarchy.

Nevertheless, in his History..., Hume managed to preserve, on the one hand, the individual character of historical events and the people involved in them and, on the other hand, a more or less precise adherence to the sources. In contrast to the Enlightenment tradition, Hume did not view history as a linear progressive unfolding of processes in space and time from antiquity to the present, nor did he evaluate events or historical figures according to these criteria. He saw his task as reconstructing the picture of the past in accordance with historical documents and other extant sources. People's activities unfold under the influence of affects, people act within certain institutional frameworks. Even in the case of the "opacity of affects" for an outside observer (which is what his experience with the first chapters had already led him to conclude), it is always possible to supplement the narrative about events and people of the past (story) with an account of state, legal, and religious institutions. At the same time, his underlying methodological principle remained unchanged: the cognitive mind should base itself only on experience (in this case, historical facts) and follow experience, but not try to direct this experience in one or another direction, imposing a picture of "how, in his opinion, it should be".

Analyzing England's path to a brilliant eighteenth century - through civil war, revolutions, and foreign wars - Hume became increasingly convinced that Britain's present position was the result of both certain patterns and many accidents. This was at odds with the Whig model of a gradual increase in English society's civil rights and improvements in state institutions. By emphasizing the limitations of the mind, Hume was pointing to the relative nature of its constructions and models, which may have either probable validity or explicable power, but can never claim absolute truth.

Helvetius and Voltaire appreciated Hume's antireligious criticism. They hoped that he would move from skepticism and agnosticism in matters of religion to atheism and encouraged him to take this radical step. In 1772 Voltaire wrote to D. Moore that he, Voltaire, was a "great admirer" of Hume. In a letter dated April 1, 1759, Helvetius, referring to his book On the Mind, addressed to Hume that his references to Hume in this book do him, the author of this book, a special honor. Helvetius offered his services to Hume to translate all his writings into French in exchange for Hume's translation into English of only one book, On the Mind.

In June 1763, Helvetius wrote to Hume the following:

I am informed that you have given up the most wonderful enterprise in the world to write a History of the Church. Think about it! This subject is as worthy of you as you are of it. And so, in the name of England, France, Germany and Italy, and posterity, I beg you to write this history. Consider that only you are capable of doing it, that many centuries must have passed before Mr. Hume was born, and that this is precisely the service you must render to the universe of our day and future time.

Paul Henri Holbach called Hume the greatest philosopher of all ages and the best friend of mankind. Denis Diderot and Charles de Bross wrote of their love for Hume and of their veneration for him. The French materialists appreciated Hume's criticism of Christian morality and Hume's rejection of the religious doctrine of the immortal soul. They fully endorsed and adopted Hume's arguments against the orthodox church doctrine of miracles.

Adam Smith followed the Humean line in characterizing the links between aesthetics and ethics. The first chapter of A. Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1753) begins: "However selfish man may be considered, it is evident that there are certain principles in his nature which arouse his interest in fortunes and make their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it for himself except the pleasure of seeing it. In the fifth part of the book, A. Smith dissected, among other things, how mutual sympathy gives rise to pleasure, how habits influence moral feelings, and how selfishness interacts with "sympathy." A. Smith developed a justification for aesthetics on the principle of utility as well as moral usefulness.

И. Kant wrote that Hume was neither understood by his contemporaries nor fundamentally accepted by his contemporaries. Indeed, Hume never encountered the level of polemics or discussion that he so craved and that he himself often openly provoked in his works. In his own work, however, Kant held Hume in the highest esteem, calling him the one who awakened him "from the dogmatic slumber" of the pre-critical period. Indeed, after Hume and Kant, empiricism could not return to the heights it occupied in the scientific and philosophical space of the 17th and 18th centuries, and Hume's criticism of dogmatism had its effect one way or another.

In the context of the birth of German classical philosophy H. Hegel considered Hume's ideas, who laid down many stereotypes of the perception of Hume and Humeism in the subsequent tradition. In his general scheme of history Hegel placed Hume's doctrine under the general heading "Transition Period" along with D. Berkeley, Stuart and other representatives of the English and French Enlightenment. Hegel specially singles out Hume as a total skeptic-empiricist, denying everything in general. However, in Hume's doctrine this negation has an objective historical character - it brings empiricism to its conclusion, forcing it to uncover the most long-standing problems of the theory of knowledge and to discover its own internal contradictions. The same applies to rationalism, which also became entangled in the problem of the objectivity of knowledge and its sources by this time. Replacing God with transcendence, pre-established harmony, and self-evidence did not and could not solve the problem of the foundation of either knowledge or cognition in general. Hume shows that no other fruit will ever grow on these foundations. Yes, knowledge rests on experience, but experience does not provide answers to the enormous number of questions that confront man. Yes, habit (instinct, as Hegel calls it) and faith provide answers to questions such as the course of future events or the sources of common ideas. But isn't this the path not just to skepticism, but to agnosticism as well? Reason has no basis for affirming true knowledge, but habit cannot help it either Such a way of reasoning - dead-end in its essence - contradicted not only Hegel's personal convictions, but also the spirit of his entire philosophical system. It is for this reason that Hegel views and evaluates Hume more negatively (as an agnostic skeptic) than positively in the context of the achievements of philosophizing from Hume's positions.

Some of the problems posed by the Scottish thinker are still of interest to a large number of researchers today, for example, the so-called "Hume principle (Hume's guillotine, Hume's paradox)" in its broad interpretation. Karl Popper believed that he was able to solve this problem by introducing the principle of falsification.

Hume's idea that the general belief in higher premises is the mere result of experience was adopted by D. S. Mill and H. Spencer. Mill and Spencer also extended to logic Hume's idea (as applied only to the law of causation, metaphysics, and morality) that the foundations of the sciences could not be justified from the content of ideas. Mill disagreed with Hume's attempt to justify belief based on association and tried to provide an inductive justification for that belief. Spencer developed this teaching of Hume in his theory of evolution and evolutionary sociology.

Psychology after Hume, gradually extending the meaning of association (James Mill), came to the doctrine of the possibility of explaining by association also the unimaginative negation of judgment, which in Hume remained a sign of speculative truth.

Hume's epistemology influenced not only the main lines of subsequent philosophy, but also the incidental ones. For example, Jacobi's doctrine of faith is dependent on Hume.

Hume's philosophy in terms of epistemology had a great influence on the representatives of second positivism (empiriocriticism, Machismo), especially Hume's ideas about the empirical subject, about perceptions as the ultimate reality for reason and reason, about causality and spatio-temporal necessity. Of particular importance to Hume's new followers was both the anti-dogmatic and ultimately anti-skeptical nature of his teaching. This attention on the part of the empiriocritics served Hume poorly: V. I. Ulyanov (Lenin), who criticized the philosophy of the empiriocritics, dealt a powerful critical blow to their authority, Hume as well. He devoted a whole chapter to the smashing of the latter's doctrine in his famous work, supporting his arguments with references to the works of Engels.

He divides philosophers into "two large camps": materialists and idealists. The main difference between them Engels ... sees in the fact that for the materialists nature is primary and spirit is secondary, and for the idealists vice versa. Between the two Engels puts supporters of Hume and Kant as denying the possibility of cognition of the world, or at least a complete cognition of it, calling them agnostics. In his "L. Feuerbach," Engels applies this latter term only to the supporters of Hume.

This same work gave rise to a whole tradition of negative assessments of Hume in Soviet philosophical history, which directly accused Hume of solipsism, fideism, phenomenalism, and agnosticism, and branded him as a typical representative of "degenerate" bourgeois philosophy.

The famous Russian philosopher of the first half of the 20th century paid very considerable attention to Hume's concept, including in the context of the formation of the agenda of German classical philosophy in the early period of his creativity. G. G. Spetz. According to A. Beliy's recollections, his Humean scepticism became a kind of trademark for Spet in philosophical discussions in the early twentieth century. At the same time, like Kant, Spet insisted that "Hume was not understood.

Б. Russell declared that Hume's views were, in a sense, a dead end in the development of philosophy; if attempts were made to deepen and refine them, "it would be impossible to go any further.

Hume's philosophy, whether true or false, represents the downfall of eighteenth-century rationalism. He begins, like Locke, with the intention of being sensualistic and empirical, taking nothing on faith, but seeking whatever guidance can be obtained from experience and observation. But being smarter than Locke, more accurate in analysis, and less inclined to accept contradictory statements that are sometimes comforting, he came to the unfortunate conclusion that nothing can be known by experience and observation. There is no such thing as reasonable faith... In fact, in the latter parts of his Treatise, Hume completely forgets his basic doubts and writes rather as any other enlightened moralist of his time might have written; he applies to his doubts the remedy he recommends, namely, "carelessness and inattention. In this sense his skepticism is disingenuous, for he does not put it into practice...The rise of illogism during the nineteenth and past years of the twentieth century is a natural extension of Hume's destruction of empiricism.

Hume's work as historian has received particular attention from R.J. Collingwood, who has argued that all of Hume's skepticism was merely a precursor to the justification of historical knowledge as a special form of knowledge that did not fit into the Cartesian dogmatism of the time. "One of the gains of his philosophy," Collingwood writes of Hume, "was to prove the legitimacy and validity of history as a type of knowledge, in fact even more valid than most other forms of knowledge, since it promises no more than it can and does not depend on any doubtful metaphysical hypotheses. But, he observes, Hume was not sufficiently consistent on this path, remaining at heart a man of his Enlightenment era.

One of the major representatives of poststructuralism and postmodernism, Gilles Deleuze, took a serious interest in Hume's work. In a study specifically devoted to Hume, Deleuze addresses one of the key problems of postmodernism - the problem of constructing the figure of the author or the same subject from within the diversity of experience in the context of a certain original natural order, similar to the preestablished harmony of Leibniz or expediency of Bergson.

V. Porus noted that Hume's philosophy is not quite in the context of the problems of its time, that is, of the classical epoch (understood in this way, it can indeed present examples of skepticism, agnosticism and solipsism); in part it emerges already in the non-classical epoch. Hume's focus is not on cognition or even human nature, but on culture as the foundation of both. "It is a philosophy that differs from the classics of the seventeenth century, and therefore it may be called the beginning of a turn toward non-classical models of culture."

A complete edition of Hume's philosophical writings has been attempted many times (in Edinburgh and London). Green and Grose have specially published a collection of the most important philosophical works: "Essays and treatises on several subjects" (this includes: "Essays moral, political," "An Inquiry conc. hum. underst.", "A dissert. on the passions", "An inquiry conc. princ. of morals", "The natural history of religion". They also published especially "Treatise" together with "Dialogues" (1874) and "Inquiry conc. hum. underst." (1889). The latter two works were also published by Selby Bigge, for Clarendon Press with useful analytical indexes ("Treatise" 1888, both "Inquiry" 1894).

Translated into Russian before 1917 were: "Inquiry conc. hum. und." ("Polit. Disc." ("Autobiography" (reprinted in Soldatenkov's ed.).

Collected Works in Russian after 1917.

Selected works.


  1. David Hume
  2. Юм, Дэвид
  3. Cranston, Maurice, and Thomas Edmund Jessop. 2020 [1999] "David Hume". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  4. Harris, M. H. 1966. "David Hume". Library Quarterly 36 (April): 88—98.
  5. ^ "The Faculty of Advocates chose me their Librarian, an office from which I received little or no emolument, but which gave me the command of a large library." (Hume 1776:11).
  6. ^ a b For example, see Craig (1987, Ch. 2); Strawson (2014); and Wright (1983).
  7. ^ These are Hume's terms. In modern parlance, demonstration may be termed deductive reasoning, while probability may be termed inductive reasoning. Millican, Peter. 1996. Hume, Induction and Probability. Leeds: University of Leeds. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  8. Prononcé ˈhjuːm, il s'appelait à l'origine David Home[1].
  9. Le 26 avril dans le calendrier julien, encore en usage en Grande-Bretagne à cette époque.
  10. « […] there is a thread running from Hume's project of founding a science of the mind to that of the so-called cognitive sciences of the late twentieth century. For both, the study of the mind is, in important respects, just like the study of any other natural phenomenon. »[3]
  11. « For nearly two centuries the positive side of Hume's thought was routinely overlooked — in part as a reaction to his thoroughgoing religious scepticism — but in recent decades commentators, even those who emphasize the sceptical aspects of his thought, have recognized and begun to reconstruct Hume's positive philosophical positions. »[4]
  12. El filósofo escocés era muy amigo de Ramsay y ambos habían sido miembros fundadores de The Select Society, un distinguido club intelectual de Edimburgo del que también formaban parte el arquitecto John Adam y el pionero de la economía política Adam Smith. Hume apoyó el rechazo de Ramsay del idealismo en la pintura en favor de una representación más natural, como se observa en este retrato.http://creatividades.rba.es/pdfs/mx/Grandes-Pensadores-MX.pdf
  13. a b 26 de abril es la fecha de su nacimiento según el calendario juliano y 7 de mayo según el calendario gregoriano.
  14. a b Kant, Immanuel. 1783. "'Introduction." In Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics.

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