Analysis Of David Hume's An Enquiring Concerning Human Understanding

Good Essays
In David Hume’s “An Enquiring Concerning Human Understanding” he explains that our basic knowledge or the contents of the mind and the things we become immediately aware of are called perceptions. Hume uses the examples of pains, happiness, the feeling of anger and our imagination to give us a better understanding of perceptions. He then divides perceptions into two categories, ideas and impressions, which are differentiated by force and vivacity. In this sense impressions relate more to having feeling whereas ideas relate to thinking. Both impressions and ideas are then broken down into those of sensation and reflection, which relates back to feeling and thinking. In this paper, I will be going into detail to give a better understanding of…show more content…
He explains that there are two types of impressions, impressions of sensations and impressions of reflection. Impressions of reflection can be defined as desires, emotions, passions and sentiments or reactions to ideas. This type of impression arises from copied ideas stored in memory or the imagination. Impressions of sensations are defined as feelings from our senses, pains, and pleasures. These impressions arise in the soul from an unknown source. Hume doesn’t go into detail about the causes of sense impressions, he explains that finding the origin of these impressions is a problem that he has left to “anatomists and natural philosophers”. Before we experience impressions of reflections we must experience those of sensation. He gives the example of an impression of sensation of pain or pleasure, copies of these experiences are saved in our memories as ideas and when we remember an idea of pain or pleasure it “produces the new impressions of desire and aversion, hope and fear” also known as impressions of reflections because these experiences come from a ‘reflection ‘on a previous experience. Hume breaks impressions down even more to complex and simple. Simple impressions can be described as single shapes, colors and smells, complex impressions are the color or shape of
Get Access