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Extra resources for The Central Problem of David Hume's Philosophy ; An Essay towards a Phenomenological Interpretation of the First Book of the Treatise of Human Nature (1929)

Sample text

Hume neglects to give the grounds on which we recognize the characteristics of kind, and to explain why, although we are "seldom or never able to "exhaust" necessities the "individuals", we are yet able to know the general and conditions binding them. The quotation supplies the first practical instance in the Treatise, Hume s theory that the ultimate explanation of our consciousness of objects lies, not in the objects, but in the processes of consciousness itself. We can only be conscious of objects the consciousness of of which we have constructed for ourselves.

II, Ch. I, Sec. 23. ally. Having laid down i C V Salmon, 318 - - [20 Introduction the absolute importance and universal scope of "Human Nature", Hume says, And as the science of man is the only solid foundation for the other sciences, so the only solid foundation we can give to this science itself must be laid on experience and observation .... For to me it seems evident, that the essence of the mind being equally unknown to us with that of external bodies, it must be equally impossible to form any notion of its powers and qualities otherwise than from careful and exact experiments, and the observation of those particular effects, which result from its different circumstances and situations.

Entirely perfect, perhaps the mind may not be content with forming the idea of only one individual, but may run over several, in order to make itself comprehend the compass of that collection, which it intends express by the general term. That we may fix the meaning of the word, figure, we may revolve in our mind the ideas of circles, squares, and triangles of different sizes its own meaning, and to parellellograms, on one image or idea. proportions, and may not rest However this may be, tis certain that we form the idea term; that of individuals, whenever we use any general an we seldom or never can exhaust these individuals; that those which remain, are only represented whenev means of that habit, by which we recal them, then This it.

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