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Discussion Board Forum 1: Hume’s Enquiry 313
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, and essayist who was born on May 7th. He is famous for his work in the philosophy that includes skepticism and empiricism. He also characterized the relationship between cause and effect by arguing that they both cannot be justified rationally because due to our mental and custom habit we tend to believe that the occurrence of an event causes another event to occur because future will always be based on past (Beebee, 2006).
Hume’s casual arguments are also known as the problem of induction. While discussing Hume’s problem of induction and causation, Hume begins by observing the unlikeliness between ideas and impressions. According to him, impressions are due to the common sense or emotion an individual possesses while ideas are our memories or thoughts that an individual tends to connect with the impressions. An individual constructs an idea by utilizing impression in three ways that are a resemblance, cause and effect and contiguity (De Pierris, 2002).
Hume’s argued that ideas can be defined as mathematical truths that are facts that we learn through our experiences. The way we understand each fact is according to the cause and effect because humans assume that every experience is responsible for the occurrence of another event. However, according to Hume’s, the relation between cause and effects on the occurrence of events is not necessarily true and causal connections are just mere assumptions. Hume’s also believed that animals and humans both have the ability to reason yet humans can rationally justify skepticism regarding an external world that is the reason for our poor actions and judgments.
While discussing Hume's idea of necessary connection he defined the cause as an object which is followed by another object to the point where they are followed by other similar objects he further provided another definition in which he claimed that if an object had never been anywhere the object never existed. He explained that our mind imagines a necessary connection between the events that are conjoined. He argued that belief plays a major role in our imagination as if our mind imagines an event then the second event will itself follow the first event, therefore, it is clear that an impression of the first event leads to cause the second event. Thus, the necessary connection can be defined as just the perception according to which two events go together (Lewis, 1974).
Moving on towards the Hume idea of necessary connection Hume does not provide sufficient philosophical background as he first described the idea of necessary connection as just something that is in our mind and not real while some times he described it as the idea that determines our thoughts. Hume also states that humans have no impression of necessary connection however no impression means no thoughts or no idea which is not true as humans do possess feelings which can be described as impressions.
However, while discussing about causal impression it is clear that assumptions about anything cannot be justified specifically assumptions based on the connection between past and future because there is no law in nature that confirms the relationship between past and future experiences. Although experiences teach us about life yet our future does not fully depend upon our past.
Reflection 1: Evil
The theme I have chosen is “Evil”. Evil can be described as the absence of good. There are two main types of evil that are moral evil and natural evil. Moral evil can be defined as the wrong acts that humans do on their own will while natural evil refers to the natural disasters like floods or earthquakes, etc. In many religions the root cause of evilness is due to Satan as he is considered as the ultimate evil. He is ruthless, inhumane and can trick people by using their emotions so that humans can feel pity for him. This can be easily explained by using one of Dante’s quotes that says “He [Lucifer] wept out of six eyes; and down three chins, tears gushed together with a bloody froth. Within each mouth – he used it like a grinder – with gnashing teeth he tore to bits a sinner, so that he brought much pain to three at once. (Inf. XXXIV, 34-57).
According to this quote Dante accepts that Lucifer is the most severely punished sinner and is also one of the greatest pity-inducers in the whole universe. However, he stills evoked heartfelt emotion in Dante. Although many sinners were interviewed in the “Inferno” yet Lucifer was the only one who did not get an opportunity to speak and tell his side of story and his thoughts to Dante. This is because Dante knew that despite Lucifer’s tears he still is evil even his appearance is evil as “his teeth gnash mechanically "like a grinder" and his wings flap rhythmically”. This quote shows that Lucifer is indeed evil and can referred to as engine that powers Hell. Thus, like Lucifer the nature of evil is also ruthless.
Reflection 2: Quote
The quote I chose is “Do not be afraid; our fate cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.” (Dante Alighieri). Although at first this quote looks simple but after examining it twice it helps a lot in understanding the relation between human and God. This quote tells that God has the ultimate power and what he has written for us is our fate that no one in the universe can take away from us. Our fate is considered as gift because it can never be taken from us. As in the world where injustice is prevailing this quote provides a sign of relief that only God has the power to change our fate.
Beebee, H. (2006). Hume on causation. Routledge.
De Pierris, G. (2002). Causation as a philosophical relation in Hume. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 64(3), 499-545.
Lewis, D. (1974). Causation. The journal of philosophy, 70(17), 556-567.
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