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moral sense above explain'd, determines us to approve the actions which flow from this love in our selves or others. Ibid. p. 155.
VII. Belegstellen aus Hume. *)
1. The sceptic is an enemy of religion, who naturally provokes the indignation of all divines and graver philosophers, though it is certain, that no man ever met with any such absurd creature, or conversed with a man who had no opinion or principle concerning any subject either of action or speculation. This begets a very natural question, what is meant by a sceptic? And how far it is possible to push these philosophical principles of doubt and uncertainty? There is a species of scepticism, antecedent to all study and philosophy, which is much inculcated by Des Cartes and others, as a sovereign preservative against error and precipitate judgment. It recommends an universal doubt not only of our former opinions and principles but also of our very faculties, of whose veracity say they we must assure ourselves by a chain of reasoning, deduced from some original principle which cannot possibly be fallacious or deceitful. But neither is there any such original principle.... or if it were could we advance a step beyond it but by the use of those very faculties, of which we are supposed to be already diffident? There is another species of scepticism, consequent to science and enquiry, when men are supposed to have discovered the absolute fallaciousness of their mental faculties.... Even our very
") Ich citire nach: Essays and treatises on several subjects in two volumes by David Hume Esq. a new edition. London printed for F. Cadell 1784. 8vo.
senses are brought into dispute by a certain species of philosophers. Essays etc. Sect. XII. p. 159. 160. 161. It seems evident, that men are carried by a natural instinct or prepossession, to repose faith in their senses. But this universal and primary opinion of all men is soon destroyed by the slightest philosophy, which teaches us, that nothing can ever be present to the mind but an image or perception.... So far, then, are we necessitated by reasoning to contradict or depart from the primary instincts of nature and to embrace a new system with regard to the evidence of our senses. what argument can it be proved that the perception of the mind must be caused by external objects?.... To have recourse to the veracity of the supreme being in order to prove the veracity of our senses is surely making a very unexpected circuit. If his veracity were at all concerned in this matter our senses would be entirely infallible, because it is not possible that he can ever deceive. There is another sceptical topic of a like nature, derived from the most profound philosophy. It is universally allowed by modern enquirers, that all the sensible qualities of objects.... are merely secondary, and exist not in the objects themselves.... If this be allowed with regard to secondary qualities, it must also follow with regard to the supposed primary qualities of extension and solidity.... The idea of extension is entirely acquired from the senses of sight and feeling. Thus the first philosophical objection to the evidence of sense or to the opinion of external existence consists in this, that such an opinion if rested on natural instinct, is contrary to reason, and if referred to reason, is contrary to natural instinct, and at the same time carries no rational evidence with it, to convince an impartial enquirer. The second objection goes farther, and represents this opinion as contrary to reason, at least if it be a principle of reason, that all sensible
qualities are in the mind, not in the object. Ibid. p. 161. 162. 163. 164. 165. 166. The great subverter of Pyrrhonism or the excessive principles of scepticism, is action and employment and the occupations of common life. a Pyrrhonian cannot expect that his philosophy will have any constant influence on the mind. Or if it had that its influence would be beneficial to society. Ibid. p. 168. 170. There is indeed a more mitigated scepticism or academical philosophy which may be both durable and useful and which may in part be the result of this Pyrrhonism or excessive scepticism, when its undistinguished doubts are in some measure corrected by common sense and reflection. (That) is the limitation of our enquiries to such subjects as are best adapted to the narrow capacity of human understanding. -' Ibid. p. 170. 172. Here indeed lies the justest and most plausible objection against a considerable part of metaphysics, that they are not properly a science, but arise either from the fruitless efforts of human vanity, which would penetrate into subjects utterly inaccessible to the understanding. Sect. I. p. 10. The only method of freeing learning, at once, from these abstruse questions, is to enquire seriously into the nature of human understanding, and shew from an exact analysis of its powers and capacity, that it is by no means fitted for such remote and abstruse subjects. Ibid. p. 11.
2. Every one will readily allow, that there is a considerable difference between the perceptions of the mind, when a man feels the pain of excessive heat or the pleasure of moderate warmth, and when he afterwards recalls to his memory this sensation, or anticipates it by his imagination. Here therefore we may divide all the perceptions of the mind into two classes or species, which are distinguished by their different degrees of force and vivacity. The less forcible and lively are commonly denominated thoughts or ideas. The other species.... let us....
All the materials of thinking are derived either from our outward or inward sentiment: The mixture and composition of these belongs alone to the mind and will. Or, to express myself in philosophical language, all our ideas or more feeble perceptions are copies of our impressions or more lively ones. It is probable, that no more was meant by those, who denied innate ideas, then that all ideas were copies of our impressions, though it must be confessed that the terms which they employed were not chosen with such caution nor so exactly defined, as to prevent all mistakes about their doctrine. admitting these terms impressions and ideas in the sense above explained, and understanding by innate what is original or copied from no precedent perception, then may we assert that all our impressions are innate, and our ideas not innate. Sect. II. p. 17-19. et Note A. p. 471. When we entertain therefore any suspicion, that a philosophical term is employed without any meaning or idea, we need but enquire from what impression is that supposed idea derived. And if it be impossible to assign any, this will serve to confirm our suspicion. Ibid. p. 22. All the objects of human reason or enquiry may naturally be divided into two kinds, to wit relations of ideas and matters of fact. Of the first kind are the sciences of geometry, algebra and arithmetic, and in short every affirmation which is either intuitively or demonstratively certain. - Propositions of this kind are discoverable by the mere operation of thought, without dependence on what is any where existent in the universe. Sect. IV. p. 27. The only objects of the abstract sciences or of demonstration are quantity and number, and all attempts to extend this more perfect species of knowledge beyond these bounds are mere sophistry and illusion. Sect. XII. p. 173. Matters of fact, which are the second objects of human reason, are not ascertained in the same manner, nor is our evidence
of their truth, however great, of a like nature with the foregoing. The contrary of every matter of fact is still possible, because it can never imply a contradiction. Sect. IV. p. 27.
3. It may be a subject worthy of curiosity to enquire what is the nature of that evidence, which assures us of any real existence and matter of fact beyond the present testimony of our senses or the records of our memory. Ibid. p. 28. All reasoning may be divided into two kinds, namely demonstrative reasoning or that concerning relations of ideas, and moral reasoning or that concerning matter of fact and existence. Ibid. p. 38. All reasoning concerning matter of fact seem to be founded on the relation of cause and effect. I shall venture to affirm as a general proposition, which admits of no exception, that the knowledge of this relation is not in any instance attained by reasoning a priori.
The mind can never possibly find the effect in the supposed cause, by the most accurate scruting and examination. For the effect is totally different from the cause, and consequently can never be discovered in it. Ibid. p. 28. 29. 31. When again it is asked, what is the foundation of all our reasonings and conclusions concerning that relation, it may be replied in one word: experience. But if we still carry on our sifting humour and ask, what is the foundation of all conclusions from experience, this implies a new question, which may be of more difficult solution and explication. I say then, that even after we have experience of the operations of cause and effect, our conclusions from that experience are not founded on reasoning or any process of the understanding. These two propositions are far from being the same: I have found, that such an object has always be attended with such an effect, and: I foresee, that other objects, which are in appearance similar will be attended with similar effects. I shall allow, if you please that the one