Knowledge According to Hume

A paper which analyzes the philosophical theory of David Hume relating to his ideas on knowledge.

The paper discusses philosopher David Hume’s argument that there cannot be any genuine knowledge of the world other than what we are perceiving at that very moment. Hume argues that ideas are present in the mind and while they are produced by reality, they are copies of reality and not reality itself. The paper analyzes Hume’s opinion that knowledge is a product of the mind and non-existent in the outer world.
“Hume begins by noting that “all reasoning concerning matter of fact seem to be founded on the relation of cause and effect” (Hume 458). Hume then rejects cause and effect as an explanation for matters of fact. As Hume says, “Let an object be presented to a man of ever so strong natural reason and abilities; he will not be able, by the most accurate examination of its sensible qualities, to discover any of its causes or effects” (Hume 459). Cause and effect then, has its basis in past experience and cannot be arrived at in any other way. Thus, reason is not enough to determine a cause and effect, experience must also be used. Cause and effect then, is not a theory that offers an explanation of how knowledge can exist outside of the mind. Hume argues instead that repeated experience gives us “habit” so that if we see one thing, we automatically associate it with another, and in this way we come to understand things without experiencing them.”