An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Summary

This principle can also be denied without contradiction, and there is no way it can be justified in experience.Therefore, we have no rational justification for believing in cause and effect.Near the end of the Enquiry, Hume follows a number of tangential discussions, arguing that human and animal reason are analogous, that there is no rational justification for a belief in miracles nor for the more speculative forms of religious and metaphysical philosophy.While a skepticism regarding necessary connection and the existence of an external world is justified, it destroys our ability to act or judge.

Rather than view free will as the freedom to have done otherwise, we should view it as the freedom to act according to own determinations, which is true of everyone but prisoners.There is no contradiction in denying a causal connection, so we cannot do so through relations of ideas.Also, we cannot justify future predictions from past experience without some principle that dictates that the future will always resemble the past.Hume disliked this vocation, turning instead toward philosophy.While still in his twenties, he wrote the monumental Treatise of Human Nature, which, to his surprise and disappointment, received very little attention upon its publication.The instinctual beliefs formed custom help us get in the world and think prudently.As long as we restrict our thinking to relations of ideas and matters of fact, we should be fine, but we should abandon all metaphysical speculations as superfluous and nonsensical.The second addresses the reader directly, and offers a defense of the book and its arguments from various perspectives.The rest of the work is divided into four books, as follows.Locke begins his exploration of human knowledge by refuting a widely held belief of his time.He argues that there are no ideas in the human mind—none that people bring into the world at birth.

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