Descartes Vs Hume

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Rene Descartes, a 16th-century French rationalist, and Hume, an 18th-century Scottish empiricist, were two of the greatest early modern philosophers. Descartes used in his reason and method of doubt to most notably come to conclusions about the nature of the self, mind, and body in his Meditations on First Philosophy. Hume using his senses and experiences to come to views of these things in his work the, Treatise of Human Nature, Book 1. These two philosophy giants came to totally bipolar conclusions in answering the question "who am I?". Arguably, it can be said that David Hume's views reign supreme because modern discoveries have no doubt wounded many of Descartes arguments. Descartes was a rationalist and used his reason to come to his …show more content…
In Descartes view, a substance is something that does not need another creature to exist besides the power of God. Thus, Descartes has taken a dualist view of the mind and body when he declares both things as substances. The mind doesn't need the body and the body doesn't need the mind. Descartes argues that "I have a vivid and clear idea of myself as something that thinks and isn't extended, and one of body as something that is extended and does not think. So, it is certain that I am really distinct from •my body and can exist without it"(Descartes, "Meditations on first philosophy"). In this argument, Descartes is using his doctrine of vivid and distinct ideas to separate the body and mind. In Descartes Principles of Philosophy, he states an idea as vivid when it is accessible to the mind and distinct when the idea is separate from all other ideas (Page 11). Because Descartes can think of both the mind and body is as distinct ideas, that is they exclude each other, he concludes they must be separate. Descartes second distinction between the mind and body lies in the varying nature of the two. Descartes states in his Sixth mediation that "There is a great difference between the mind and the body. Everybody is by its nature divisible, but the mind can't be divided" (Descartes, "Meditations on first philosophy"). Since these …show more content…
In section VI of part IV of David Hume's, A Treatise of Human Nature, he argues that the idea of a continuous identity is unfounded and just a presumption. Hume states that "Unfortunately, all these forthright assertions are in conflict with the very experience that is supposed to support them. We don't so much as have an idea of self of the kind that is here described. From what impression could this idea be derived?" (130). When he says that the assertions of self are "contrary to experience", he is stating that the idea of the "self" has no impression. Since ideas must come impressions, there cannot be an idea of "self" if there are no impressions. Hume proposes the Bundle Theory of Self. He says, "But setting aside metaphysicians of this kind, I am willing to affirm of the rest of mankind that each of us is nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions" (Hume, 131). To Hume, the self is not a unified thing but rather just a group of ideas and perceptions that change constantly and can influence each other. Hume ultimately conclude his view on the self by saying "The whole of this doctrine leads us to the very important conclusion that all the precise, subtle questions about personal identity can never be settled, and should be seen as verbal difficulties rather than philosophical ones" (136). Essentially, he says its useless to try to

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