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26 JUNE, 2017 (MAINS)



Q1. Evaluate critically Hume’s criticism of the theory of causation. (2014/15/200 words)


Please write the answer in comments section

  • Sooraj Mehra

    Hume refutes the existence of all material and immaterial substances. Hume argued that if we can directly know, we know nothing but the object of our sense experience as ideas and impressions only. He says these are all different and separable so, there is no need for their support. When we examine we found nothing, what we call it a self or any certain principle.
    Our mind is like a stage of a theatre in which thoughts and ideas come in a procession. All thoughts are transitory and temporary. The only reason for suspecting the exist-ence of self is that the rapidity of their change causes an illusion. He says we should try to be dear that we are just concentrating mind on only successive perceptions, not where they are pre-sented.
    So, self is merely a composition of succes-sive impressions. We can compare this idea of Hume with Buddha. He alsoeiects commonly believed conception of self though he does not den the continui of the states at coillife. The self or the ego denotes nothing more than this collection and the existence of man depends on this collection and it dissolves when the col-lection breaks up. But there is much difference between above conception of the self and Hume’s conception of self.
    Now, here a problem arises about this view that if we have not any permanent self, then how can we explain personal identity? And how can we justify this conception? Firstly, John Locke introduced problem of personal identity in his book An Essay Concern-ing Human Understanding. Locke defines a per-son as a “thinking intelligent being that has rea-son and reflection and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places.”
    This self-consciousness, which is insepa-rable from thinking, constitutes the essence of personality. Consequently the identity of a person is to be found in the identity of consciousness. Of course, we are not always conscious. In contrast to Locke, Hume does not believe in an identical self. For him there are no constant and invariable impressions of such a self and that introspection does not discover anything, but particular perceptions. Thus we can have only particular sensation and emotions, but no impression of self. Hume’s discussion of personal identity is primarily built on the major role of the imagination.