The Senses Of David Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

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Everyone will agree that there is a noticeable difference between the perceptions of the mind and the memories of sensations. David Hume recognises these differences, and divides the mental contents into two classes or species known as ideas and impressions. Hume uses the ‘Copy Principle’ which stated that ideas are copies of impressions to suggest the possibilities that every idea is derived from an impression. His principle is an attempt to explain how we form the beliefs about the world. Even though there is one contradictory phenomenon to his theory, in which Hume ignored as something insignificant, his claim is wildly accepted by many philosophers. By analysing section 2 of David Hume’s “Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding”, we are …show more content…
Impression which occurs when we experience sensation on one hand is vivid and lively. Ideas on the other hand, are less lively perceptions and are often appear from the reflection of our sensations. Impressions on some circumstances such as under the influence of disease or madness can be easily mistaken for ideas, and ideas are often mistaken as equivalent to impressions, because these perceptions have become undistinguishable. Hume argues that new complex ideas are derived from the combination of simple ideas copied from earlier feelings or sensations. When we aim to convey an idea of an external object; we use the corresponding impression from senses and experiences to assist us. For instance, when thinking about a golden mountain, we combine the familiar ideas of gold and mountain to form the impression. Hume argues that since the impression is form by combining ideas obtained from senses and experiences, all ideas are copied from …show more content…
Hume proposed the “Copy principle”, which states that all ideas are copied from impressions, and offers two arguments to support his theory about the relationship between idea and impression. The first argument suggests that, when we analyse our thoughts, we can reduce them to the simple ideas copied from previous feelings. Thus, the idea of God, by extending the qualities of goodness and wisdom, comes from the reflection of our own mind. The second argument suggests that, without having the particular experience, a person lacks in the ability to form the corresponding ideas. For example, blind and deaf people have no ideas of colours, or sounds, because the ideas have never been introduced to them. Since all the materials involve in thinking are derived from our thought, it justify that ideas are merely copies of our impressions despite its

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