Hume argues that reason cannot combat a passion. How do you think Aristotle would respond? How would you continue this conversation?
In Hume’s treatise of human nature, he presents an argument, which states that reason cannot combat a passion. His argument commences by the discussion, that “reason alone can never be a motive to any action of the will”(Hume, 803). Hume states that reason cannot be derived from actions, because reasons come from ideas. He gives an example of a merchant, “a merchant is desirous of knowing the sum total of his accounts with any person: why? But that he may learn what sum will have the same effects in paying his debt, and going to the market, as all particular articles taken together” (Hume, 804), he gives this example to explain that mathematics itself doesn’t influence a merchant, it is the purpose or idea of finding out the sum of what people owe him that influences him to use mathematics. Similarly, reasoning does not affect actions, however it “directs our judgment concerning causes and effects”(Hume, 804). In other words, reasoning can only direct us towards what we are inquisitive about or are passionate about, but cannot influence our actions overall.
His second premise states that we form a connection to everything. If we like an object, we form a liking to it, or connect to it as a positive object and everything that relates directly to that object, similarly, if we dislike something, we form a dislike or negative relation to that object, and everything that is connected to that object. Hume explains, that “But it is evident in this case that the impulse arises not from reason, but is only directed by it. It is from the prospect of pain or pleasure that the aversion or propensity arises towards any object: And these emotions extend themselves to the causes and effects of that object, as they are pointed out to us by reason and experience” (Hume, 804) having stated that impulses to perform any action are not derived...
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