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Thursday, August 09, 2012

David Hume

If I do not exist, to Hume am I speaking?

David Hume follows the Buddha in denying the existence of a continuous self. This always strikes me as an exhilarating, liberating idea, but practically nonsensical in the end. If David Hume does not exist, why listen to what he says? Indeed, how can I, if I do not exist?

To say “I do not exist,” in other words, is an immediate self-contradiction.

Hume also, apparently like Buddhism, denies the existence of all “complex ideas,” that is, no concepts beyond the basic sense-perceptions refer to anything real. But again, if true, this assertion itself is just the quacking of a duck, without significance.

Hume also denies all science, by dismissing the reality of cause and effect. We are deluded into believing in cause and effect, he argues, by mere habit. In other words, our idea of cause and effect is caused by habit; it is the effect of habit.

Hume is a bizarre great beast of self-contradition, an elaborate maze with nothing at the core.

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