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Flashcards in Hume Deck (17)
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1

It cannot be from any of these perceptions that the idea of the self is deriv'd, thus there is no such idea

P1: One impression must give rise to every real idea.
P2: Self or person is not any one impression, but that to which our several impressions and ideas are supposed to have a reference.
P3: If any impression gives rise to the idea of a self, that impression must continue invariably (simple, repeatable) through the course of our lives.
P4: No such impression exists.
C: It cannot, therefore, be from any of these impressions or from any other, that the idea of self is deriv’d, and consequently there is no such idea.

2

We falsely attribute an identity to the collection of perceptions We are nothing but a "bundle or collection of different perceptions which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual state of flux and movement."

P1: When engaged in introspection, I have no experience of self.
P2: I have perceptions of pain, pleasure etc but they are separate and constantly changing. The mind is like a theatre, where several perceptions successfully make their appearance.
P3: There is no simplicity in it at one time, not identity in different times (no synchronic or diachronic identity).
P4: We have a natural tendency to imagine that simplicity and identity.
P5: We have no idea of the location or substance of the perception.
P6 (implied): We falsely attribute an identity to the collection of perceptions.
C: We are ‘nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and in are in a perpetual state of flux and movement’

3

Humans have a natural tendency to feign the continued existence of the perception of our senses to remove the interruption and disguise the variation.

P1: We have a distinct idea of objects that are invariable, that we call sameness.
P2: We have a distinct idea of objects that are connected by close relation, which we call diversity.
P3: The close relations between different objects facilitates the mistaken assumption of sameness.
P4: The bias of the imagination is generally committed without awareness.
P5: Even with awareness of the bias, our last resort is to yield to it.
C: Humans have a natural tendency (despite our knowledge) to feign the continued existence of the perception of our senses to ‘remove the interruption and disguise the variation’.

4

We can only attribute perfect identity to a mass of matter if the parts continue uninterruptedly or invariably the same

P1: An entity that is changed, variable or interrupted (no matter how small the change) cannot be considered the same, as its identity is destroyed.
P2: To attribute identity to variable or interrupted objects is to commit an error.
P3: The relationship of parts (causal, resemblance or contingency) produces a ‘quality’ of identity (an association of ideas) which leads naturally to the imaginative error.
P4: To attribute identity accurately (according to P1 criteria) we must be on guard against the error.
C: We can only attribute perfect identity to a mass of matter if the parts continue uninterruptedly or invariably the same.

5

Our illusion of identity depends on the quality of relations, not the observaion of a real bond

P1: Every perception in the mind is distinct and separable from every other perception, either contemporary or successive.
P2: Identity is not able to run the different perceptions into one and make them lose their ultimate characters of distinction.
P3: Understanding never observes any real distinction among objects, only a quality, which can give rise to a ‘union of ideas in the imagination’.
P4: Uniting principles of the ideal world (qualities of relation such as resemblance and causation) produces an easy transition of ideas.
C: Our illusion of identity depends on the quality of relations, not the observation of ‘real bond’.

6

Memory discovers and contributes to identity

P1: Memory is a faculty by which we raise up images of past perceptions, which resemble current ones.
P2: The frequent placing of these resembling perceptions in the chain of thought allows the imagination to move from one link to another.
P3: This process makes the whole seem like a continuance of one object.
C: Under this view, memory both discovers identity and contributes to its production, by producing the relation of resemblance among perceptions.

7

Causation contributes to the illusion of the self

P1: We tend to consider our perceptions as linked together by cause and effect.
P2: In this way, personal identity is comparable to a Commonwealth or Republic, in that any changes in character and disposition can be accounted for via causation and thus sameness is preserved.
P3: This long-term view of causation in relation to our perception allows for concernment of past or future pains or pleasures.
P4: (Implied conclusion) Concernment implies personal identity, so causation creates a sense of identity.
P5: The view of causation is unreliable.
C: Causation contributes to the illusion of the self.

8

Memory does not so much produce as discover personal identity

P1: Memory is the chief source of identity amongst persons, as the qualities of resemblance and causation are reliant upon it.
P2: Resemblance and causation give rise to a ‘union of ideas in the imagination’ and thus identity.
P3: Memory thus contributes perceptions which make the illusion of a continuous self possible.
C: Memory does not so much produce as discover personal identity.

9

The disputes are merely verbal except when an illusion or fiction of union arises

P1: Identity depends upon the relation of ideas (memory, then causation).
P2: These relation produce identity via means of easy transition (resemblance and then continuity).
P3: There is no standard by which we can determine identity empirically.

C: Thus the disputes are merely verbal (presumptions or impressions, with no basis in truth) except when an illusion or fiction of union arises.

10

From this attribution of simplicity we feign a principle of union as support of this simplicity

P1: An object, whose different or co-existent parts are bound together by close relation, operates upon the imagination as one perfectly simple and divisible.
P2: From this similarity of operation we attribute a simplicity to it.
C: From this attribution of simplicity we feign a principle of union as support of this simplicity.

11

It cannot be from any of these impressions that the idea of the self is derived thus there is no idea EVAL

While the impressions and the idea of the self changes with different perceptions, it is unified in the sense that these perceptions are arranged into an organised manner. No real idea comes only from a single impression, but a range of related impressions.

12

We falsely attribute an identity to the collection of percpetions. We are a bundle of perceptions EVAL

The self is a necessary concept for survival, in the sense that there must be a person to be held responsible.

Does the fact that we cannot locate an impression of identity mean that there is none?

Hume could be right in his claim that what we call self-perception is not sufficent to prove a self exists. What we are perceiving is thinking, not a self.

13

Humans have a natural tendency to feign the continued existence of the perception of our senses to remove the interruption and disguise the variation EVAL

It seems true that the close relations offer us a mistaken concept of sameness, but could they not offer us an accurate concept of continuity whereby one psychological state is dependent on the last.

14

We can only attribute a perfect identity to a mass of matter if the parts continue uninterruptedly or invariably the same. EVAL

A chip in a ship does not mean that it is a different ship, as conceptually we would consider it the same as it retains the same design and mateirals

To attribute identity to variable and interrupted objects is philosophically an error but often pragmatic. Illusion of the self enables our survival, as we say I, mine, me.

Hume is right in that we may not be able to attribute perfect identity, but what about concpetual, pragmatic identity?

Those without a concept of the self (multiple personality, dissasocaitive disorders) are unable to function. They cannot make their needs known.

It is consistent with a nonself view that we continue to employ the terms 'self' and 'I' in their practical usage provided we do not mistake them for denoting some particualr entity at the ultimate level.

15

Our illusion of identity depends on the quality of relations, not the obervation of a real bond EVAL

Our perceptions change, and other times they are not distinct and separable from every other perception.

16

Memory discovers and contributes to identity EVAL

Locke would support this. Even the periods of broken memory are continued to out continuous self.

17

Causation contributes to the illusion of the seld EVAL

Although not caused by past perceptions, like the Buddhist theory, dependent on it?