Hume argues that perception can be divided into two types: impressions and ideas. He states that impressions are our first-hand perception, using all of our senses and emotions to experience them (Hume 2012, 8). For example, an impression of a sensation would be experiencing pain and an impression of reflection would be experiencing anger. Hume states that an idea is thinking about an impression. You cannot use your senses to experience the sensation or emotion, you are just simply reflecting on your experience (Hume 2007, 13). For example, thinking about the pain you felt when you stubbed your toe or thinking about how angry you felt when your football team lost. Hume argues that our thought is limited. He argues that when we imagine things such as an orange sea, we are simply joining two consistent ideas together. Hume argues that ‘all our ideas or more feeble perceptions are copies of our impressions or more lively ones’ (Hume 2007, 13). This is called the Copy Principle.
Hume supports his claim with two arguments. Firstly, he states that when we reflect on our thoughts, they always become simple ideas that we copied from a first-hand experience of something, thus the idea has been copie...
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...sions and ideas. This is because it acts as a counter-example to this account. I believe that Hume’s response to the “missing shade of blue” is satisfactory because the arguments of atomism and the non-genetic thesis are more convincing than Morreall’s objection. The two arguments cause the “missing shade of blue” to no longer be a counter-example.
Word Count: 1497
Fogelin R. J. (1984) ‘Philosophy and Phenomenological Research’, International Phenomenological Society, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 263-271
Hume, D. (2007) An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. New York: Oxford University Press
Hume D. (2012) A Treatise of Human Nature. Seattle: Loki’s Publishing
Morreall, J. (1982) ‘Philosophy and Phenomenological Research’, International Phenomenological Society, Vol. 42, No.3, pp. 407-415
Noonan, H. (2007) Hume. Oxford: One World Publications
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