Comparative Essay David Hume vs. John Locke

1050 WordsJun 6, 20135 Pages
Comparing John Locke against David Hume : Empiricism John Locke and David Hume, both great empiricist philosophers who radically changed the way people view ideas and how they come about. Although similar in their beliefs, the two have some quite key differences in the way they view empiricism. Locke believed in causality, and used the example of the mental observation of thinking to raise your arm, and then your arm raising, whereas Hume believed that causality is not something that can be known, as a direct experience of cause, cannot be sensed. Locke believed that all knowledge is derived from our senses, which produce impressions on the mind which turn to ideas, whereas Hume's believed that all knowledge is derived from experiences,…show more content…
Hume rejected lockes theory of experiencing cause. He argued that you do not feel the connection between your mind and arm, and thus don't sense the cause of the muscles contracting to raise your arm. Cause, in Hume's mind, is a synthetic experience used to explain the unobservable things in reality. To help explain he used the billiard ball experiement. Ball A is hit and put into motion towards ball B.When ball A collides with ball B the cause of ball B's movement is not experienced, there is no observable connection between the two. This would mean that there is no way to be certain that everytime Ball A collides with ball B that ball B will move, ball A could just as likely bounce off and begin rolling in a random direction. He believd that there is no way of knowing for certain the outcome of an event without being able to perceive the cause. John Locke's theory of knowledge stated that all knowledge is derived from the senses, that are converted into impressions, that are then made into ideas, either simple or complex. Simple ideas are ones that involve only one sense, whereas complex ideas consist of multiple simple ideas being combined to create a vivid one. Ideas have two qualities, primary qualities, and secondary qualities. Primary qualities are things that are perceived the same for everyone, and secondary qualities are the individual perceptions of
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