David Hume 's A Treatise Of Human Nature

907 WordsMay 4, 20164 Pages
The argument I shall address for this paper is found on page 385, from David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature. In Book 1, he takes a skeptic view on the philosophy of personal identity by making the claim that there is no such thing as a self. According to Hume, for there to be a self it must be constant and stable, yet all of our knowledge comes from ‘impressions’ (perceptions that come from sensory experience) that are only fleeting: “pain and pleasure, grief and joy, passions and sensations succeed each other, and never all exist at the same time,” (Hume 385). His first argument is structured as follows: (1) All knowledge and ideas are derived from impressions, or experience. (2) Thus, if an idea of a self exists then it must be derived from impressions. (3) For any impression to bring about the idea of a self, that impression must persist, unchanged, throughout our entire life. (4) Because our perception constantly changes, we are unable to experience all the impressions at the same time. (5) Thus, there is no impression that meets the criteria set forth in (3). (6) Thus, the idea of a self cannot be derived from impressions. (7) Therefore, there is no such thing as an idea of a self. I do believe that Hume’s argument is valid because the premises entail the conclusion. However, I do not think his argument is sound due to issues I find with the premises. My objection below specifically challenges his sixth premise: (1) All knowledge and ideas are derived from
Open Document