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David Hume born David Home; 7 May 1711 NS (26 April 1711 OS) – 25 August 1776) was a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, scepticism, and naturalism. WORKS; A Treatise of Human Nature Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
A central doctrine of Hume's philosophy, stated in the very first lines of the Treatise, is that the mind consists of perceptions, or the mental objects which are present to it, and which divide into two categories: impressions and ideas. Hume's Treatise thus begins: "All the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call IMPRESSIONS and IDEAS. " Hume states that "I believe it will not be very necessary to employ many words in explaining this distinction" and commentators have generally taken Hume to mean the distinction between feeling and thinking. (Cognition and Commitment in Hume's Philosophy. oup. com. Oxford University Press. 28 November 2002)
Empiricist philosophers, such as Hume and Berkeley, favoured the bundle theoryof personal identity. (Dicker, Georges (2002). Hume's Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction. Routledge. P. 15. ) In this theory, "the mind itself, far from being an independent power, is simply 'a bundle of perceptions' without unity or cohesive quality". (Maurer, The Reverend Armand (27 May 2013). "Western philosophy. Basic Science of Human Nature in Hume". Encyclopædia Britannica. ) The self is nothing but a bundle of experiences linked by the relations of causation and resemblance; or, more accurately, that the empirically warranted idea of the self is just the idea of such a bundle. According to Hume: "For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure. I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception. When my perceptions are removed for any time, as by sound sleep; so long I am insensible of myself, and may truly be said not to exist"
Hume's writings on ethics began in the Treatise and were refined in his An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751). His views on ethics are that "moral decisions are grounded in moral sentiment. " It is not knowing that governs ethical actions, but feelings. (Cranston, Maurice (16 November 2014). "David Hume – Scottish philosopher. Morals and historical writing". Encyclopædia Britannica p. 4. ) Arguing that reason cannot be behind morality, he wrote: Morals excite passions, and produce or prevent actions. Reason itself is utterly impotent in this particular. The rules of morality, therefore, are not conclusions of our reason. (Hume, David (1739). A Treatise of Human Nature. London: John Noon. P. 458)