Hume 's Metaphysical Reasoning Of All Kinds Essay

Hume 's Metaphysical Reasoning Of All Kinds Essay

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Hume believes that metaphysical reasoning of all kinds has failed to provide an accurate representation of the natural world. In A Treatise on Human Nature, he concludes that the only unyielding foundation one can give to science must be rested upon experience and observation. Logically, this empirical inquiry should provide knowledge on matters of fact, general conclusions that arise from particular experiences; however, as a radical epistemic skeptic, Hume concurrently argues that reason cannot provide any knowledge of the external world. He finds it “evident that the essence of the mind being equally unknown to us with that of external bodies…must be equally impossible to form any notion of its powers and qualities otherwise than from careful and exact experiments…” (Hume 239). Inquiry into matters of fact may allow individuals to consider certain propositions are representative of certain features of the world, but individuals cannot know whether what it provides is accurate. Considering Hume’s contradictory views, he cannot coherently support inquiry into matters of fact and argue that people cannot know of an external world.
To explain the principles of human nature, Hume proposes an entirely new theory of the mind regarding it as the “only one upon which they [principles of human nature] can stand with any security” (239). All perceptions of the human mind are either impressions or ideas. “The difference between these consists in the degrees of force and liveliness with which they strike upon the mind and make their way into our thought and consciousness” (241). Impressions are essentially sense data at a particular time; something individuals would feel. The consciousness passively receives impressions as if a constant...


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...ific investigations into matters of fact are legitimate. Because people can evaluate their experiences (i.e. pick out what is truly characteristic of the external world on the basis of justified empirical inquiry), people can learn from their inquiry into matters of fact.
Furthermore, scientific knowledge is cognitively legitimized by reason, causality, and induction. If one could not trust these methods, then science itself would prove to be pointless. Clearly, though, science has been tremendously helpful not only in regards to explaining natural phenomenon but also in everyday practical applications. Additions or deletions can supplement a particular scientific conclusion as a result of people’s continuous technological advancements, yet all of their conclusions still amount to knowledge. It all intertwines on the path to demystify a seemingly enigmatic universe.

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