A Progress of Sentiments: Reflections on Hume's Treatise by Annette C. Baier

By Annette C. Baier

Annette Baier's goal is to make feel of David Hume's Treatise as an entire. Hume's family members motto, which seems on his bookplate, used to be "True to the End." Baier argues that it's not till the tip of the Treatise that we get his complete tale approximately "truth and falsehood, cause and folly." via the tip, we will be able to see the reason to which Hume has been precise in the course of the paintings.

Baier unearths Hume's Treatise of Human Nature to be a gently crafted literary and philosophical paintings which itself screens a philosophical growth of sentiments. His beginning is an excessively summary intellectualism that intentionally thrusts passions and social matters into the history. within the 3 interrelated books of the Treatise , his "self-understander" proceeds via partial successes and dramatic mess ups to emerge with new-found optimism, awaiting that the "exact wisdom" the morally self-conscious anatomist of human nature can gather will itself enhance and proper our imaginative and prescient of morality. Baier describes how, via turning philosophy towards human nature rather than towards God and the universe, Hume initiated a brand new philosophy, a broader self-discipline of mirrored image which could include Charles Darwin and Michel Foucault in addition to William James and Sigmund Freud. Hume belongs either to our current and to our earlier.

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14), is, as Donald Livingston 2 has emphasized, basic to almost everything else that Hume discusses, it is proper to attend to it before we look at his treatment of ideas that presuppose it, as it is proper to look at mental association before looking at that special form of it that Hume takes inference to be. Hume's official story about the "correlatives" or relata between which relations hold is the Lockean one, that we acquire simple ideas when a "copy" is taken by the mind of the simple sense impressions and impressions of reflection (passions) that it undergoes, and that our subsequent recombinings of these simples in our thoughts, both free imaginings and constrained beliefs, are guided by the "natural relations" that we have perceived between those simples-relations of resemblance, of spatial and temporal contiguity, and of causation, "if I may be allowed to use that term" (T.

The first human customs that Hume needs to invoke, to carry out his philosophical program that is to make custom play a central role, are the customs of language users. Customs of classifying and labelling give us competency at abstraction and generalization. Our habit of thought, in particular our grasp of necessary relations between our ideas, "follows the words" (T. 23). Customs of thinking follow customs of speaking. There is no individualist bias to Hume's epistemology within most of Book One-membership in a linguistic community, itself one of several such communities whose languages "nearly correspond" to each other, is essential for the sort of mental activity that he is analyzing in Part I of Book One, indeed in the whole of the Treatise.

1 "Liveliness" (or "vivacity") and "force" are the dimensions along which perceptions are assessed. The more lively perceptions are fertile; they can pass on their life, can produce resembling "copies" of themselves in ideas, so that "all the perceptions of the mind are double, and appear both as impressions and as ideas" (T. 2-3). Our ideas copy our impressions not merely in their "simple" content, but in their perceived relationships, in their keeping company, and their ganging up. " Our social relationships are the outcome of our biological mammalian nature, of our friendships, and of the social artifices and inventions we have made, and all three affect Locke's, Hume's and our perception of our mental and feeling states, and their relationships.

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