Discussion Questions on Hume
1. Hume maintains that all of our simple ideas are copies of impressions. (a) What does he mean? (b) What argument does he give for this claim? (c) What philosophical importance does he attach to this claim?
2. Commentators have remarked that it appears as if Hume wanted to create the same sort of theory of the mind that Newton created for the solar system. What analogies can you think of?
3. What, in Hume's view, can we know without need of observational evidence? How is it possible to know anything without observing it first?
4. Hume asks, On what is our knowledge of matters of fact beyond the immediate pronouncements of our senses or memory based? and he answers: On the relation of cause and effect.
He then asks, On what is our knowledge of cause and effect based? and he answers: On experience.
He then asks, On what are conclusions from experience based?
What is his answer?
What argument does he give for his answer?
What other answer could there be?
5. On Hume's view, is it possible to know anything about matters of fact beyond what our senses tell us? Is knowledge of any generalizations about the world possible?