David Hume

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David Hume, a Scottish philosopher and historian who lived from 1711-76, carried the empiricism of John Locke and George Berkeley to the logical extreme of radical skepticism. Although his family wanted him to become a lawyer, he felt an "insurmountable resistance to everything but philosophy and learning". Mr. Hume attended Edinburgh University where he studied but did not graduate, and in 1734 he moved to a French town called La Fleche to pursue philosophy. He later returned to Britain and began his literary career. As Hume built up his reputation, he gained more and more political power. He discarded the possibility of certain knowledge, finding in the mind nothing but a series of sensations, and held that cause-and-effect in the natural world derives solely from the conjunction of two impressions. Hume's skepticism is also evident in his writings on religion, in which he rejected any rational or natural theology. Besides his chief work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), he wrote Political Discourses (1752), The Natural History of Religion (1755), and a History of England (1754-62) that was, despite errors of fact, the standard work for many years.

"Nothing seems more unbounded than a man's thought," quoted Hume. Hume took genuinely hypothetical elements from Locke and Berkeley but, rejected some lingering metaphysics form their thought, and gave empiricism its clearest and most rigorous formulation. (Stumpf) Hume wanted to build a science of a man, to study human nature by using the methods of physical science. But, with conflicting opinions offered on all subjects how can we know the true nature of things?

Hume believed that all knowledge came from experience. He also believed that a person's experience's existed only in the person's mind. Although our body is confined to one planet, our mind can roam instantly into the most distant regions of the universe. Hume believed that there was a world outside of human conscience, but he...
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