A Treatise of Human Nature Themes

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Radical Empiricism

Hume is one of history's great empiricists. An empiricist is someone who believes that non-trivial knowledge comes only from the senses, denying that reason alone has access to the world as it is. Hume believes that the mind trades only in perceptions, which consist in impressions or sense-data. Hume holds that the mind then generates impressions of representations, ideas and uses them in various ways. All ideas, however, originate in impressions; there are no ideas of pure reason.

Further, Hume argues that the mind makes use of relations between ideas and impressions, ideas and other ideas and impressions and other impressions. Every single mental entity in the mind, all representations and all relations come from the senses and nothing more. This is empiricism in a radical form.

Hume's empiricism leads him to all number of striking and shocking positions. Holding that all mental ideas are rooted or...

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Buy the A Treatise of Human Nature Study Guide
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