David Hume's Theory Of Reason

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David Hume is concerned with the role of reason which it plays in action and belief in human life throughout his philosophy. Hume simply argues that neither our belief nor actions are determined by reason: in his works he inspects the role of reason in human life. “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them” . Hume’s principle is that reason is subordinate to passions. Hume presupposes that the faculty of reason does not determine belief and action. Hume shows that our most fundamental beliefs, about the existence of object, about what we are not presently observing, and in the existence of the self are not acquired by reason, but instead by the imagination, …show more content…
Essential to this method is the requirement that one should "set aside as false" what might be doubted. On the traditional conception, then, we are following the dictates of reason only when we come to believe something because we have certain and indubitable reasons to think it as true” . If reason is the source of a belief, the Person will satisfy two criteria in arriving at it: he will infer only from premises which he knows to be true, and his reasoning will proceed in accordance with the accepted rules of good inference. On the interpretation of Hume's argument, one of the conceptions of reason with which Hume is concerned is this Cartesian view ;if reason were like this then it would not determine our beliefs about the unobserved or the continued and distinct existence of objects. He says that if reason or the understanding, which he often equates with this conception of reason, did determine the belief, then it would have to proceed upon a principle which is well-founded, a just conclusion; the transition would have to be a just inference and the conclusion built on solid reasoning. He then proceeds to show that these conditions are not fulfilled in these instances, for we in fact have "no reason to believe these things. It is because the beliefs are unreasonable, then, that reason cannot be the source of them. Thus Hume, like …show more content…
He has determined that these operations are not those described in the traditional conception of reason” . He does not conclude that we therefore do not arrive at our beliefs through reasoning. Rather, he rejects the traditional conception of reason and proposes in its place another description where it is a natural process in which we all engage in arriving at our beliefs. Hume thinks that the nature of reason is revealed by observing certain clear facts. First, according to Hume reasoning is something human beings including children and common people engage in. Therefore reasoning cannot be something so mysterious or subtle that it cannot be attributed to all normal people. In the introduction to the Treatise, Hume thinks that one can establish that they never escape the most stupid and ignorant, that animals, as well as human beings, reason and that their method of reasoning is no different from ours. Therefore, he offers a test for a successful explanation of the nature of reason: Let us therefore put our present system and see whether it will equally account for the reasoning of beasts as for that of the human species. While Hume thinks his theory meets both tests, the Cartesian model fails on each. Though on the traditional conception human beings may possess the potential to reason, but not mostly according to the method which Descartes advances to enable us to

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