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Epistemology Essay

1599 words - 7 pages

“I have found that such an object has always been attended with such an effect, and I foresee, that other objects, which are, in appearance, similar, will be attended with similar effects” (The Search for Knowledge 74). This foretells that with knowledge, our society may be able to associate a certain aspect/detail with an object, but that does not necessarily mean it will always happen. Therefore, Hume, who starts out as an empiricist, has arrived at the conclusion where an individual may not have knowledge at all, of skeptic doubt. This is explored through the three epistemology questions, the process he did take, and what the reader thinks on the matter.
According to Hume, with his ...view middle of the document...

This theory is called Hume’s Fork, where it is between the relation of an idea and a matter of a fact. This says that society may be sure about our surroundings, but they are not certain. Ideas do not tell us anything about the world, but only our thoughts of what they may be, and matters of facts are knowledge per say, but are not always certain as well. Basically, it shows that one cannot be certain of the world around us, as it may change.
With the question of the role of reason within the possibility of knowledge, he believes that, “We can learn nothing about what lies outside the subjective contents found within our experiences.” (The Search for Knowledge 71), therefore reason cannot be established as the primary source of knowledge. He clarifies his reasoning with the principle of induction and the uniformity of nature. The principle of induction is basically assuming that, for example, since the sun has risen yesterday, it shall rise today and rise tomorrow. Society makes the connection that when an event occurs more than once; one will believe that it shall again happen. The uniformity of nature is where the belief of the laws of nature will continue to commence, therefore it should be still commencing in days to come.
Another way he delivers this statement is through the theory of being constantly conjoined. He states that, “Causes and effects are distinct events” (The Search for Knowledge 73). It can be said that when do an action, there is an equal consequence that follows. If you take the example of where you light up a candle with a match, and then touch the flame, you experience a burning sensation where you have touched said flame. If one repeats this process, one comes to the conclusion that since this has happened in the past, it will most likely be the same or similar in the future.
With the third epistemology question of whether reality is represented as it really is, he declares that, “The only certainty we can have concerns the relationships of our ideas. But since these judgments concern only the realm of ideas, they do not tell us about the external world” (The Search for Knowledge 78). As a result, one can determine that reality cannot be represented as it really is due to the fact that one cannot gain any knowledge from the outside world from our ideas. Ergo, in the world, a person may experience objects such as desks, but this person is uncertain if they are connected to an external world. Hume raises that, “Impressions are always data that are internal […] hence; we have no data about what is external” (The Search for Knowledge 75). It clarifies his reasoning that society believes that they live in an external world, or that there may be one, but one does not have sufficient explanation as to why this is true.
As well, an individual must also question the fact of the self. Hume affirms that, “If all we can know are sensory impressions or our internal psychological states, then we can never experience the self”...

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