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The Egocentric Predicament

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Chapter 11 The Skeptic: David Hume

3.      What is Locke’s “Egocentric Predicament?';

     The Egocentric Predicament is a problem associated with our ideas and how we perceive the world. Locke believes all knowledge come from personal ideas; these ideas are based upon our perception of the world. However, if we only see the world based on our own ideas how can there be any external or objective world. This begs questions similar to; can I really know an objective world exists? If there is no external world do any other minds –or ideas- other than my own exist? How can we ever test reality if it is our own mental construction? Locke concludes that we do have some knowing in relation to the subjective and objective reality that they do exist, but that we do not have a clear idea between one and of the other.

7. Why does Hume draw a distinction between “facts'; and “values';?

     Hume draws this distinction in recognizing further our own subjective and objective world. In this, through our own personal experience we associate certain facts with moral judgments and values. For example, there may be the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow. However, we place a judgment whether we dislike or like the sun rising tomorrow. Hume has merely recognized the distinction between the fact (sun) and values (likes/dislikes) of the sun. Hume’s link between facts and values was a push to further understand moral philosophy and our understanding of it.

8.     What is the “empirical criterion of meaning';?

     It states that meaningful ideas can be traced to sense experience (impressions). This relates to us having to question the very things we may believe are true. We may explore the idea of fate and conclude based upon experience that fate does not exist. What impressions do we have that fate exist? This causes us to look closely at the idea of fate because nothing from our experience may, or may not match fate to our experience of it. We must ask the question whether there are any impressions to sense experience regarding Fate, if we cannot find any valid impressions it would be worthless or meaningless utterances.

9.      What does Hume have to say about the limits of science and theology?

     In science, Hume recognized a problem with scientific causality. He saw science as being based on inductive reasoning, which results in generalized rules or principles. Therefore, these principles are never found on experience with every single cause and effect. Science sees them as reliable because they are “causal patterns';. However, Hume recognized that there is not always a connection between the cause and effect. We cannot perceive the actual connection. According to Hume one event does not necessarily follow exactly the other, it just “happens'; to follow the other. Hume figured that our mind creates the ideas of cause and effect, we cannot directly see them.

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