Wednesday, March 19, 2008

David Hume Beats Darwin to the Punch?




If we survey a ship, what an exalted idea must we form of the ingenuity of the carpenter who framed so complicated, useful, and beautiful a machine? And what surprise must we feel, when we find him a stupid mechanic, who imitated others, and copied an art, which, through a long succession of ages, after multiplied trials, mistakes, corrections, deliberations, and controversies, had been gradually improving? Many worlds might have been botched and bungled, throughout an eternity, ere this system was struck out; much labour lost; many fruitless trials made; and a slow, but continued improvement carried on during infinite ages in the art of world-making.



Wow. I need to read some Hume.

5 comments:

SuiginChou said...

That's news to me. I was reading about a neurologist who has broken ground in how we view the brain and brain rehabilitation, and part of the reason he was able to learn some things that others could not was because he both had the desire to check out "the olde literature" and he spoke 6 different languages, all fluently, and so had access to these writings.

Sometimes I wonder where the medical journals from 19th century Germans, Russians, etc. are housed and what sorts of forgotten treasures they might contain.

Hume, huh? All I remember of him is that we studied him briefly in 11th grade Interdisc and I saw him again even more briefly in freshman philosophy ("Right and Wrong") at Caltech. Which is to say, I remember his name, that he is a philosopher, and that's pretty much it. Couldn't even tell you for certain if he was English (my guess) or another English-speaking nationality.

Jay said...

He's a scot. But otherwise, my Hume-knowledge ranks like yours. Where is that Philosophy major Mr. Justin when you need him?

Mike said...

you should read about this hume:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Hume

que rediculo! said...

...and after you read Hume, you can read how Kant reveals his epistemology to be completely vacuous. In the history of Philosophy Hume's epistemology is only relevant in the necessity of its meaninglessness.

And he's a fatty.

:P

que rediculo! said...

But seriously:

Hume's main criticism aimed at the destruction of the concept of space and time, of substance, of the principle of causality. All of which are essential to philosophy and science both. Among Hume's criticisms the most famous (historically) is the critique of the principle of causality.

He was the ULTIMATE skeptic. If the problem was one that could not be directly experienced by the senses, then we can know NOTHING about it.

When the billiard ball hits the other ball we canNOT say that the second balls movement was caused by the first. Because we cannot "see," or rather "sense," Cause.

This is all in his "Treatise on Human Nature." A dreadfully boring piece to read, not to mention that he aims to totally dismantle/discredit metaphysics and science in one fell swoop.

Actually, I'm kinda shocked that you'd be into this guy. He actually seems like the OPPOSITE of what I thought you'd be into. Well, except for the whole Hume's an atheist thing. But he certainly would not be an evolutionist. I mean the man didn't believe in causality. C'mon!