Custom «Humes Critique of Descartes and Plato» Essay Paper
David Hume is a controversial Scottish philosopher in the eighteenth century, renowned for skeptical examination of ethics, history, and religion. Such features are seen in his first philosophical works referred to as "treatise of human nature." On the other hand, Plato is an ancient Greek philosopher who examined ideas of politics, metaphysics, morality, and epistemology. Descartes is recognized as the father of western philosophy. He shaped the knowledge of the seventeenth century philosophy. The paper analyzes the way how Humes would critique the views of Plato and Descartes. Plato and Descartes are usually classified as ancient philosophers, but Humes is among the most recent philosophers who signified a break from ancient philosophical concepts and ideals.
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Undoubtedly, Humes critique would encompass the issue of ideas. Plato believes that the soul is a completely unified and immortal entity that remains the same throughout the life of an individual. However, he is keen to note that there are various challenges related to this view. He compares his thoughts with those of Diotima who argues that a man cannot remain the same as the gods since each day involves new dispositions, thoughts, and desires thereby leading to changes in a person. On the other hand, Descartes ideas are subdivided into three categories such as adventitious, innate, and imaginative. Therefore, he does not completely agree with the view that all actions are innate. Moreover, he insists that for one to achieve clearly reasoned conclusions, he/she has to engage in systematic and wholesale doubting. The process would enable him or her to develop ideas that are solely his or hers and not of others. Therefore, ideas arise from external objects invading on person's senses. Humes critique would be an assertion that ideas come from impressions and personal perceptions. He argues that weak perceptions originate from impressions and one cannot think of something he or she has never seen. Therefore, reasoning has its causeand effect and one cannot infer presence of one object from another unless they are connected to each other. Humes would, therefore, oppose the idea of innate ideas completely. Rather, he would insist on the idea of impression that is guided by cause and effect relationship. However, he can agree with Descartes that ideas are external to an individual. He would use the statement to reinforce his assertion that impressions and perceptions are crucial in the development of ideas.
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The other philosophical issue that would be subjected to critique is religion. Plato believes that the soul exists separately from the body and continues to survive after the death. Similarly, Descartes argues that ideas about God are innate, just as those involving oneself. He says that since he exists as a true representation of a perfect being such as God, then God exists. Descartes reinforces the dualism view of reality advocated by Plato. Plato believes that there is a realm of a human being that is spiritual and immortal, as well as encompasses conscious thinking. The other realm is material, finite and encompasses physical universe and human bodies. This dual realism worked best for Descartes as he was both a scientist and a loyal catholic. The borrowing of these ideas led him to a conclusion that the soul existed separately from the body. On the other hand, Humes had a completely different perception of the soul. His arguments are based on three different perceptions. First, he argues that there is no single evidence that showed that the soul existed separately from the body. He adds that if it is true that the soul exists, it cannot be generable and could exist before the body. He says that the miracles that people claim to be God accomplishments cannot be seen or be repeated in his presence, so that he can believe in them. The second argument relates to justice of deity where it would be questioned due to the nature of rewards, as well as punishments imposed on finite acts. The last argument is that there is no evidence of surviival and, therefore, such evidence is based on decay alterations. Thus, Humes asserted that he cannot believe in a higher power called God because His actions are unfathomable and beyond reason. He was exposed to the existence of the soul by reinforcing absence of evidence in proving the existence. Therefore, the major critique would presume a fact that their arguments about the soul are not supported by any substantial claims.
The other matter of critique would be related to the relationship between the mind and the body. Descartes holds the view about such relationships while claiming that he is a thinking man. Therefore, the mind is supposed to reason and make choices, thereby, causing motion in the body. Plato and his theory of forms also focus on such relationships. He advocates that human beings should detach themselves from their bodies and the material world and concentrate on forms so as to perceive the world, which is open to change. Plato and Descartes, therefore, allude that the bodies in one way or another influence the way people think and see things. On the other hand, Humes believed that human reasoning derived from person's senses. He, therefore, insists that the mind conceive an effect that derives from a particular cause. He adds that the mind can only conceive what can be seen. Therefore, he emphasizes on ideas, impressions, and proof as the main concepts in thinking. The critique of Descartes would be that the body is not connected with the reasoning process.
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However, there are various concepts that Descartes and Humes seem to agree. The first one is the idea of skepticism. Descartes assumes that most of the beliefs that a person holds are false and, therefore, asserts that for one to acquire the correct knowledge, he/she has to doubt almost everything. Humes builds his knowledge on this fact and argues that he cannot completely believe in a higher power as there is not enough proof of God's existence. Therefore, both philosophers are skeptics.
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