David Hume - Origins of Ideas Chapter

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  • Hume's - Origin of Ideas Chapter
    • Paragraph One
      • Hume state's that our imagination and memories of a certain scenario will never be as 'vivid or as lively' as the original perception.
        • A quote from Hume states that 'All the colour of poetry, however splendid, can never paint natural objects in such a manner' showing that imagination can never be as strong as perception.
      • Those who believe that their memories are as indistinguishable as to the original perception are minds that are 'disordered by disease and madness'.
    • Paragraph Two
      • Hume states that we cannot copy or imagine an exact replica of thoughts or emotions.
        • Hume gives the example of the emotion of anger. 'A man in a fit of anger, is actuated in a very different manner from one who only thinks of that emotion'. Showing that we cannot duplicate an emotion that we have never had, only imagine it and this imagined thought will never be close to the actual perception.
    • Paragraph Three
      • Hume divided all the perceptions of the mind into two categories.
        • Perceptions that are considered to be less forceful and lively are considered to be IDEAS.
        • Any other perception from our senses are considered to be impressions.
        • The key difference between ideas and impressions is that impressions are the original perceptions from the sense-data we receive, whereas our ideas are when our mind attempts to re-create the original perception or reflects upon the original perception.
    • Paragraph Four
      • Hume is stating that at first glance the power of the imagination is unlimited and that the only possible thing that we cannot imagine is something of complete logical contradiction. For example: a triangle with 5 sides.
    • Paragraph Five
      • Hume however states that what we thought to be an unlimited power of the mind is actually 'confined to very narrow limits'.
        • The imagination is confined to 4 key features: compounding, transposing, augmenting and diminishing.
          • For example: when we think of a Golden Mountain, we only combine are ideas of Gold and Mountain to form this new complex idea.
    • Paragraph Six
      • Hume states that there are two arguments that back up his theory of imagination as stated in paragraph five. The first explained in this paragraph, the other in paragraph seven.
        • The first argument is that every thought can be analysed and refined back down to the original simple idea. He uses the example of the idea of God, A being with infinite intelligence, goodness and stength. When we break this down we mind that we are simply augmenting ourselves, by adding the idea of infinite to our own human attributes.
    • Paragraph Seven
      • Hume's second argument of imagination, is that when we do not have a sense organ, we cannot have the ideas related to that particular organ. For example: a blind man will have no notion of colour or a deaf man no notion of sound.
        • Hume also states that those who have no access to the object, can never be applied to the sense organ and therefore have no ideas based from it. An example from Hume being: A Laplander or negro has no concept of wine.
    • Paragraph Eight
      • Hume states that there maybe a single instance where an idea may not be reliant on an impression for its existence.
        • Hume states the idea of a missing shade of blue. Where someone has experienced all colours, apart from this single shade of blue. If all the shades of blue were placed in front of this person, one shade would be missing. Some may argue that that person would be able to imagine what that shade of blue would be in comparison to the other shades.
          • However Hume, believes this to be a singular instance that it is 'scarcely worth our observing' and does not damage the general idea of 'maxim'.

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