Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

British Bristol where Hume found it very uncongenial,

Empiricist David Hume was born in 1711 in Edinburgh. Hume was both, raised and
educated in Edinburgh, where his passion for philosophy was side stepped while
he read law at university. After university Hume’s family persuaded him into an
office job in Bristol where Hume found it very uncongenial, soon after in 1734
Hume made the move to France where he resumed his study of Philosophy. Five years
later, this move led to the writing of books 1 and 2, the Treatise of Human Nature. 

Hume’s theories
lead him to be seen as a British empiricist alongside names such as Berkeley
and Locke. Each look at the details of what ideas and impressions are. Locke’s
most well known theory was his sense-data view and the veil of perception,
where he believes that we see a perception of the world, rather than the world it’s
self. Berkeley explains that we perceive only ideas and that ordinary objects
are ideas, and that God maintains these ‘ideas’ when no one is looking. Whereas
Hume takes a more sceptical methodological view on the world. Hume supported
what he called a ‘mitigated’ form of philosophical scepticism, the doctrine
that all empirical knowledge is undefined. Hume wrote extensively on causation
and perception, formulated theories of knowledge and ideas and wrote at length
on moral, political and religious issues. In most of his works, Hume aimed to
clarify the reasoning process through which knowledge of such issues was
achieved, earning international admiration from the philosophical community.

Hume’s The
Treatise of Human Nature books are devoted to the theory of the perception of
the mind, and how it links to causation. Hume explains this as two separate and
distinct groups, ideas and impressions. Those perceptions, which enter with most force and violence,
we may name impressions;
and under this name I comprehend all our sensations, passions and emotions, as
they make their first appearance in the soul (Hume, 2018). By ideas I mean the
faint images of these in thinking and reasoning; such as, for instance, are all
the perceptions excited by the present discourse, excepting only, those which
arise from the sight and touch, and excepting the immediate pleasure or uneasiness
it may occasion (Hume, 2018). This
led to their being two definitions of ’cause’. In relation to philosophy a
cause can be ‘an object precedent and contiguous to another, and where all
objects resembling the former are placed in like relations of precedency and
contiguity to those objects that resemble the latter’. While cause in a natural
sense is ‘an object precedent and contiguous to another, and so united with it
that the idea of the one determines the mind to form the idea of the other, and
the impression of the one to form a more lively idea of the other’ (Nidditch,

David Hume uses
a principle known as the copy principle, which states that ‘all (Hume, 2018) our simple ideas in
their first appearance are derived from simple impressions, which are
correspondent to them, and which they exactly represent’ (Nidditch, 1978). This leads to
suggest that if we have not had a simple impression of something, then we can’t
have a simple idea of it. There for it can be said that it does not exist.
However, this is when Hume’s missing shade of blue comes in. Imagine that there
is a scale of blues, and there is one shade you have not seen but you know the
one before and the one after and so you can think that you can picture this
missing shade of blue due to a combination of the two. The fact that Hume himself
came up with this exceptions makes many current philosophers believe that the
copy principle may have been misstated otherwise why would Hume oppose his own
idea. The copy principle describes a version of causation. This being that, an
A-type an event causes a B-type event if and only if: 1. The A-type event
preceded the B-type event, 2. The A-type event was contiguous with the B-type
event in space and time, 3. The A-type event made the B-type event. However if
you look at the revamped version of the copy principle that; if it is
impossible to have a simple idea of something, then it is impossible to have a
simple idea of it. This means that the idea of causation is changed to, 1.The
A-type event preceded the B-type event, and 2.The A-type event was contiguous
with the B-type event in space and time, 3. A-type events are constantly
conjoined with B-type events.

David Hume’s Treatise
of Human Nature goes into true depth about these topics and yet still there are
many people, which are unable to understand Hume’s interpretation of the mind
and how it works. Hume in a lighter wording says that it is impossible to
imagine anything as you must first have a simple impression of it suggesting we
must have already seen it. This suggests that there is no such thing as
creative thinking, which many people in the 21st century find
difficult to accept. Hume although is not one of the most well known
philosophers in the general public such as Aristotle and Plato. He is in fact
well regarded with the academic circle, and his theories have stood the test of
time. Some philosophers may have taken his theories and developed them such as
the copy principle has been revised but they are still predominant in
philosophy today.