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David Hume > By Individual Philosopher > Philosophy

Every once in a while, someone who has read the comic emails me, wondering how to get into philosophy outside of school. This should be a subject that I have some expertise in, since I never took a single philosophy class in college, and I am apparently knowledgeable enough to make a philosophy-themed webcomic, atthe very least. But responding always leaves me a bit disconcerted, like I've given terrible advice, because what people typically ask for is a book recommendation as an introduction to a specific philosopher. While I usually know which book is the best place to begin for a given philosopher, it's very strange to tell someone to just read something like Either/Or, or god forbid Being andTime without some sort of preparation. So this blog post is my official explanation of how to learn philosophy outside of school, in your own free time.

But how, then, can we justify this principle of the uniformity of nature?

I take it that (A) and (B) are straightforward. So if there are questions about this line of thought, they will be questions about (C) and (D). What Hume is most concerned to point out is that one obvious, natural and attractive way of defending UN cannot work in the end. I have in mind the so-called inductive defense of induction: the attempt to establish UN by citing our past record of successful predictions. After all, you might think that our track record of commonsensical and scientific success provides us with ample reason to believe that our experience is normally a pretty reliable guide to what we have not yet experienced. If we had never had much luck in predicting the future, we would have no right to believe UN. But we have had an immense amount of luck of this sort. We tend to remember the failures. But the successes are vastly more numerous. Every time you successfully "predict" that the floor will support you, that your food will not poison you, that your friends will not try to kill you, you acquire, it would seem, more and more evidence for your general reliability as a predictor of the future.

Hume's Problem of Induction David … | Term Paper


You should try to produce arguments to break this symmetry: reasons for accepting UN that might move the Counterinductivist and the Cautious Martian over to our side. But Hume is convinced that this cannot be done. So he rejects the possibility of a straight solution to his skeptical problem. And yet he does not conclude that we should reject inductive reasoning or the principle of the uniformity of nature. He does not urge any change in our ordinary practice of forming expectations about the future based on experience. His claims for this practice and the principle that underlies it are rather as follows:

Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Difficulty level: hard
Who to read first: the positivists, early Wittgenstein
If you are interested in philosophy of language, both this and the Tractatus can be read on their own, but require high effort and consultations of secondary sources.

David Hume was one of the first who ..

The Problem Of Induction In Philosophy (Hume) - Essay …

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understand, David Hume.
Difficulty level: mediumExtremely powerful and influential work of skepticism, Hume introduces is Is/Ought gap and Problem of Induction. Hume was an especially great writer and clear thinker.

"UN" stands for the "Uniformity of Nature". This is a traditional (post-Humean) label for the missing premise, though in fact it is misleading. For UN is not simply the claim that nature exhibits regularities. It is the claim that the regularities that have emerged are among the regularities that hold throughout nature. It might better be called a principle or representativeness, for its central message is that my experience, though limited in time and space to a tiny fraction of the universe, is nonetheless a representative sample of the universe.

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Problem of induction hume essay concerning

If we accept the analysis of inductive reasoning sketched above, it may seem that Hume as done something remarkable and disturbing. He has shown that from a strictly intellectual point of view, there is no real difference between common sense and science on the one hand, and religious belief on the other. In all three cases we find a system of belief based on a fundamental conviction that cannot be justified by argument. The most dramatic way to put the point is to say that Hume has shown that common sense and science are matters of faith. Hume would resist this attempt to rehabilitate religion by "softening up" our picture of common sense and science. The faith that Hume defends is a faith that we cannot possibly avoid or resist, a faith that renders skeptical doubt utterly idle. The religious case is very different, at least on the face of it. What we shall have to ask, as we proceed, is whether this difference really makes a difference.

Hume, David: Causation | Internet Encyclopedia of …

The other major hurdle to overcome when trying to get into philosophy is that almost every text was written as a response to someone else. It can be difficult to understand what someone means, or why they would think a certain thing, if you lack the context about who they are responding to and the general philosophical climate that they were workingin. Without reading Hobbes, it's hard to understand Rousseau; without reading Rawls, it's hard to understand Nozick; without reading Kant, it's hard to understand...well, anyone who came after Kant. So many thinkers are so deeply intertwined that it’s easy to just get completely lost. Furthermore, a lot of the major philosophical works are written for other philosophers, to convince thosepeers of radical new ideas. Something like The Critique of Pure Reason is just not going to be easy to read, really for anyone. As a beginner, it is almost certainly not worth the effort, but since you have no way of knowing this, you might just dive in and get discouraged. It is a far better use of time to just use a secondary source, which will often result in a better understanding ofthe work anyway.

Hume and the Problem of Induction Essay Example | …

The Scottish philosopher, historian and essayist David Hume is known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. Hume conceived philosophy as the inductive, experimental science of human nature, building on the epistemology of the English philosopher John Locke, which enabled him to explore how the mind acquires knowledge. This comprehensive eBook presents Hume’s complete works, with numerous illustrations, rare texts appearing in digital print for the first time, informative introductions and the usual Delphi bonus material. (Version 1)

Hume's problem of induction essay Organizer 5 paragraph essa

But this definition hassmall explanatory value; for the notion of self-contradictoriness, in the quite broad sense needed forthis definition of analyticity, stands in exactly the same need of clarification as does the notion ofanalyticity itself. The two notions are the two sides of a single dubious coin.

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