David Hume

From The Jolly Contrarian
Jump to navigation Jump to search
People who write excellent books


Get in touch
Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Requests? Sign up for our newsletter? Questions? We’d love to hear from you.
BREAKING: Get the new weekly newsletter here Old editions here

Not only could he out-consume Schopenhauer and Hegel, Humey was the great causal sceptic and the first great post-modernist. Wrote A Treatise on Human Nature. One of those giants on whose shoulders Isaac Newton would have been standing, had Isaac Newton not been there first. But Oasis, definitely. Neat guy.

Have no truck with cancel culture snapperheads who complain that he fraternised with people holding fairly normal political opinions in the sixteenth century. Without people like Hume, libtards like that — and the rest of us, frankly — would be breaking rocks in gulags.

Is ≠ ought

To paraphrase David Hume for modern ears:

Every moral system that establishes a God or observes human behaiour suddenly switches from propositions joined by “is” to propositions joined by “ought”. This is an imperceptible, but important change. Since “ought”, expresses a new relation, it must be explained (but usually is not) how this ought can be deduced. To try to explain this would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality and we would see that one cannot found a vice or a virtue merely on the relation between objects.[1]

See also

References

  1. “In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.” — David Hume, A Treatise on Human Nature.