Hume's ‘Ideas’

Jonathan Bennett

in Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 2

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198250920
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597060 | DOI:

Series: Learning from Six Philosophers (2 Volumes)

 Hume's ‘Ideas’

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  • History of Western Philosophy


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Contains remarks on the kind of philosopher Hume was; the subtle interplay in his work between logical analysis and naturalistic psychology. His distinction between ideas and impressions; his attempt to use it to differentiate experiencing from remembering, both from thinking or imagining and his account of memory are described. His ‘copy thesis’ says that every (1) simple idea is (2) copied from (3) an earlier impression; a defence is given here for reconstruing it as saying that every (1) word that cannot be verbally defined must be (2) explicable in terms of its bearing upon (3) experience of the objective world.

Keywords: copy thesis; Hume; idea; impression; memory

Chapter.  12945 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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