Inquiry Of Human Understanding Essay

777 words - 4 pages

David Hume’s
Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding

In David Hume’s Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding he states that all human reason can be separated into two kinds, either Relations of Ideas or Matters of Fact. This essay aims to explain Hume’s theory and clearly distinguish the differences between the two. He gives examples of the two and why he believes this to be true for all people. This is Hume’s version of a priori/a posteriori differentiation.
Relations of Ideas is defined by Hume as “the “sciences of geometry, algebra, and arithmetic” and “every affirmation which is either intuitively or demonstratively certain”. These are the notions of beliefs that are cultivated ...view middle of the document...

A person will conclude that if they were to place their hand into a fire that it will burn there hand. Hume questions if it was the fire that in fact caused the burn. We know this from our experiences, but he begs to differ. He presents the idea that even though experience had taught us that we a burn to our hand will result if we were to place it within an open flame, how do we know that the flame caused the burn. The idea is that even though we continue to live our lives and make certain assumptions based on our experience what would we do if the circumstances were to change? We live knowing that our hand will get burned by and open flame, but what if the next time we put our hand into that flame we do not get burned? Then everything we have come to know about fire and the result of it are false. The fire itself may not have been the cause of the burn it could have been just a coincidence. He states that we must infer a conclusion from our past experiences but only after several experiments. But yet we cannot know them to be true as a fact. Another example is the one referenced to earlier;...

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