Essay about An Analysis of David Hume's Affirmation

Essay about An Analysis of David Hume's Affirmation

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David Hume makes a strong affirmation in section IV of an Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Hume states, "I shall venture to affirm as a general proposition, which admits of no exception, that the knowledge of this relation is not, in any instance attained by reasonings a priori; but entirely from experience." In this statement, when discussing "knowledge of this relation," Hume is referring to the relation between cause and effect. This argument can easily be dismissed as skeptical, for it puts all knowledge of this sort in doubt. However, Hume does not hastily doubt that this knowledge is not a priori, as a skeptic would. Instead Hume offers a sound argument as to why cause and effect knowledge can not be a priori, and thus his argument is not skeptical at all.

Before Hume commits himself to this affirmation, he establishes several things first. He explains that all reasonings concerning matter of fact are founded on the relation of Cause and Effect. In support of this, Hume explains that, if asked, any man believing in a matter of fact would give as a reason in support of this fact, some other fact. It is from this that Hume concludes that all reasonings concerning fact are of the same nature. It is here that one continually assumes that there is a connection between the current fact and that, which is inferred from it. Furthermore, Hume states where there nothing to bind them together; the inference would be entirely precarious.

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