Modern Classical Philosophers: Selections Illustrating Modern Philosophy from Bruno to Bergson

By Benjamin Rand | Go to book overview

DAVID HUME (1711-1766)

AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDER -- STANDING*

SECTION II. OF THE ORIGIN OF IDEAS

EVERY one will readily allow, that there is a considerable difference between the perceptions of the mind, when a man feels the pain of excessive heat, or the pleasure of moderate warmth, and when he afterwards recalls to his memory this sensation, or anticipates it by his imagination. These faculties may mimic or copy the perceptions of the senses; but they never can entirely reach the force and vivacity of the original sentiment. The utmost we say of them, even when they operate with greatest vigour, is, that they represent their object in so lively a manner, that we could almost say we feel or see it. But, except the mind be disordered by disease or madness, they never can arrive at such a pitch of vivacity, as to render these perceptions altogether undistinguishable. All the colours of poetry, however splendid, can never paint natural objects in such a manner as to make the description be taken for a real landskip. The most lively thought is still inferior to the dullest sensation.

We may observe a like distinction to run through all the other perceptions of the mind. A man in a fit of anger, is actuated in a very different manner from one who only thinks of that emotion. If you tell me, that any person is in love, I easily understand your meaning, and form a just conception of his situation; but never can mistake that conception for the real disorders and agitations of the passion. When we reflect on our past sentiments and affections, our thought is a faithful mirror, and copies its objects truly; but the colours which it employs are faint and dull, in comparison of those in which our original perceptions

____________________
*
First edition, London, 1748; id., Essays, ib., 1777; ib., 1898, vol. ii.

-307-

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Modern Classical Philosophers: Selections Illustrating Modern Philosophy from Bruno to Bergson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) 1
  • Francis Bacon (1561-1626) 24
  • Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) 57
  • RenÉ Descartes (1596-1650) 101
  • Baruch De Spinoza (1632-1677) 148
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Von Leibnitz (1646-1716) 199
  • John Locke (1632-1704) 215
  • George Berkeley (1685-1753) 263
  • David Hume (1711-1766) 307
  • Etienne Bonnot De Condillac (1715-1780) 347
  • Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) 376
  • Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) 486
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Von Schelling. (1775-1854) 535
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) 569
  • Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) 629
  • Auguste Comte (1798-1857) 672
  • John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) 690
  • Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) 703
  • Index 733
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