Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Selfless Society

David Hume starts from the idea that we are completely ‘blank’ at the beginning of life and that it is through the senses first that we react with the world.
Hume called these sensory perceptions ‘impressions’. He distinguishes them from a similar kind of entity which he called ‘ideas’. An idea is the memory of an ‘impression’. He described ideas as being less vivid than impressions as you would expect.
It follows that for something to be known to exist in the world we must be able to experience it as an impression.
Everybody must feel that if anything exists in the world at all it must be ‘self’ because that is the entity with which we are most familiar.
Hume says that you cannot actually point to an impression of self. When you come to think about it you do not perceive self but only some particular feeling or idea.
He then goes on to show that the idea of self is a construction of the imagination.

I recommend Hume’s philosophy as brilliantly lucid and original (don’t be put off by my rendition which was just a private exercise for me – read the real stuff )

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