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 came from impressions. He stated that every simple idea has a simple impression and vice versa. He divided impressions into two groups, sensation, which comes about from causes unknown to us and reflection which comes about from our ideas. He said any impressions are followed by an idea which resembles the impression and only varies in force and vivacity. Whereas Descartes did not believe in imagination, Hume did. This is a weakness of his because one cannot logically prove something from imagination. One cannot logically have an idea of a cause from their imagination; they can just picture their ideas. Hume did not believe in Descartes concept of innate ideas. He states that ideas are gained through our senses and to prove ideas are not innate, one must realize that they have already had experience of these ideas. Hume's strength is his belief that all ideas came from impressions. Even stronger is the impression of reflection. People who feel the effects of an idea thought of, do not see something happen.
Descartes and Hume disagreed on the topics of innateness and imagination that is why neither one is right. Even though Hume's imagination idea is bad, the rest of his belief is convincing. Therefore, I believe Hume's theory of ideas is better than Descartes' argument because he says ideas are based from impression and I can relate to this. Whenever I think of something I form ideas of this object based on first impressions. I was not born with ideas because I had nothing to base them on when I was born. Therefore, Hume's theory of ideas is easier to accept and comprehend.
Please do not pass this sample essay as your own, otherwise you will be accused of plagiarism. Our writers can write any custom essay for you!
Hume Sample essay topic, essay writing: Hume - 1349 words
Empiricism (en - peiran; to try something for yourself): The doctrine that all knowledge must come through the senses; there are no innate ideas born within us that only require to be remembered (ie, Plato). All knowledge is reducible to sensation, that is, our concepts are only Leibiz On Innate Ideas Rationalists argued from “self-evident” basic principles and definitions, with Leibniz, in particular, using his principle of sufficient reason as a way to deduce knowledge. Arguing from such principles and definitions, the rationalists held, could lead to certain knowledge through deductive proof, since if an argument’s premises are true, it is guaranteed its conclusion be true. Descartes «I think therefore I am» Man wills, refuses, perceives, understands, and denies many principles. As explained by Rene' Descartes, man is a thinking thing, a conscious being who truthfully exists because he is certain that it is so. All that man perceives is internally present and not external to him or his mind. The focal Descartes Views On God Sample essay topic, essay writing: Descartes Views On God - 725 words
Descartes Views on GodFrom reading some of his works, one might assume that Rene Descartes does not believe in the existence of a heavenly being, a God that presides over humans and gives us faith. I do not believe this to be the case. Philosiphy Of David Hume Sample essay topic, essay writing: Philosiphy Of David Hume - 299 words
David Hum's literary works were varied both in subject and in popular reception. Hume's life was one marked by a seemingly overwhelming love of literature and philosophy. In his autobiography Hume refers to this love absent; '..seized very early with a passion for literature