Hume and Descartes on the Theory of Ideas

Topics: Mind, Metaphysics, Ontology / Pages: 3 (622 words) / Published: Oct 9th, 1999
Hume and Descartes on The Theory of Ideas

David Hume and Rene Descartes are philosophers with opposing views about the origination of ideas. Descartes believed there were three types of ideas which are, innate, adventitious and those from imagination. He stated since he exists and his idea of what a perfect being is, such as God, then God exists.
Hume, on the other had, believed ideas came only from one thing, impressions.
Both theories have their strengths and weaknesses but I like Hume's theory better than Descartes. Descartes believed imagination could not help humans. Descartes' definition of ideas was, only things which exist in the mind and represent other things are called ideas. His argument was the nature of the ideas which make up the mind could gain an idea about God, but instead, humans could think about God by other means. A major strength of Descartes was his idea of objective reality, which is one's perception of reality. If something accurately represents something, then it is objective reality, according to him. I believe this is a strength of his because of his convincing argument, "If the objective reality of any one of my ideas is found to be so great that I am certain that the same reality was not in me…therefore I myself cannot be the cause of the idea, then it necessarily follows that I am not alone in the world, but that something else, which is the cause of this idea, also exists" (75). Descartes weakness is his idea of innate ideas. It is not necessarily correct to say people have a mind the minute they are born, instead they have gained it after being living for some time. Descartes position on innate ideas is open to criticism; innate ideas should be predicted not thought of. There is no certainty that the nature in which the idea is explained should be innate. If Descartes theory of innateness has no temporary connections between the ideas, then there is nothing innate about his innate ideas. Hume believed that ideas

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