Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (Digested)

Continuing the series in which philosophical classics are reduced to their elements as a somewhat dubious service to students and scholars.

#4: Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature

Tis to be observed, that nothing be known to the mind of man that is neither an impression; being a perception or sensation of the body or mind, of a lively or vivid nature; or, contrariwise, an idea; being a fainter or less lively representation of an impression; or a new idea comprising a composite of simpler ideas derived from simpler impressions; and that the mind contains nothing that is not owed to these perceptions of the mind, namely, ideas and impressions, among the number of which cannot be found any simple impression of cause and effect, without which the idea of cause and effect, which with resemblance and contiguity in time and space completes all the ways in which ideas may be related one to the other, having no corresponding impression, requires us to locate the source of the idea in the operation of the mind itself, leading to a scepticism which is consequent rather than antecedent; and mitigated by the need to get on and play billiards.
If this doesn’t fly hot off the presses, then I’m not Scottish!

  1. Are the Italics meant to convey a sort of Scottish emphasis? ‘Cos you can’t really parody reasonable contentions, can you?

  2. Gauthama de Paula

    Hi People,

    It seems that this text was written by one of the ‘Brutal British Empiricists’, Hurt’ em Hume, with constant conjunction karate chop action, whose powers are the scottish karate and local skepticism, and weaknesses, never really sure about anything other than the contents of his own experience… (

    All the Best!


  3. Hey – would you like to post a digested version of Hume’s Enquiries??

  4. I supect it is a mistake that Hume was never sure about “anything other than the contents of his own experience.” Book one of the Treatise seems to suggest that but the other two books don’t. And his History of England, and writings on aesthetics and morals show there is much more to Hume than
    Gauthama thinks.

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