Hume Quotes

Quotes tagged as "hume" Showing 1-15 of 15
David Hume
“If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.”
David Hume

David Hume
“Stercus accidit.”
David Hume

Robert G. Ingersoll
“As a rule, theologians know nothing of this world, and far less of the next; but they have the power of stating the most absurd propositions with faces solemn as stupidity touched by fear.

It is a part of their business to malign and vilify the Voltaires, Humes, Paines, Humboldts, Tyndalls, Haeckels, Darwins, Spencers, and Drapers, and to bow with uncovered heads before the murderers, adulterers, and persecutors of the world. They are, for the most part, engaged in poisoning the minds of the young, prejudicing children against science, teaching the astronomy and geology of the bible, and inducing all to desert the sublime standard of reason.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses

Anne Fadiman
“A philosophy professor at my college, whose baby became enamored of the portrait of David Hume on a Penguin paperback, had the cover laminated in plastic so her daughter could cut her teeth on the great thinker.”
Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Benjamin Franklin
“We hold these truths to be self-evident.

{Franklin's edit to the assertion in Thomas Jefferson's original wording, 'We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable' in a draft of the Declaration of Independence changes it instead into an assertion of rationality. The scientific mind of Franklin drew on the scientific determinism of Isaac Newton and the analytic empiricism of David Hume and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. In what became known as 'Hume's Fork' the latters' theory distinguished between synthetic truths that describe matters of fact, and analytic truths that are self-evident by virtue of reason and definition.}”
Benjamin Franklin

William Barrett
“David Hume, in a moment of acute skepticism, felt panicky in the solitude of his study and had to go out and join his friends in the billiard room in order to be reassured that the external world was really there.”
William Barrett, Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy

Mitch Stokes
“To question reason is to trust it.”
Mitch Stokes

Jerry A. Fodor
“The sun will rise tomorrow morning; I know that perfectly well. But figuring out how I could know it is, as Hume pointed out, a bit of a puzzle.”
Jerry A. Fodor

Andrew Bernstein
“In the history of philosophy, the term “rationalism” has two distinct meanings. In one sense, it signifies an unbreached commitment to reasoned thought in contrast to any irrationalist rejection of the mind. In this sense, Aristotle and Ayn Rand are preeminent rationalists, opposed to any form of unreason, including faith. In a narrower sense, however, rationalism contrasts with empiricism as regards the false dichotomy between commitment to so-called “pure” reason (i.e., reason detached from perceptual reality) and an exclusive reliance on sense experience (i.e., observation without inference therefrom). Rationalism, in this sense, is a commitment to reason construed as logical deduction from non-observational starting points, and a distrust of sense experience (e.g., the method of Descartes). Empiricism, according to this mistaken dichotomy, is a belief that sense experience provides factual knowledge, but any inference beyond observation is a mere manipulation of words or verbal symbols (e.g., the approach of Hume). Both Aristotle and Ayn Rand reject such a false dichotomy between reason and sense experience; neither are rationalists in this narrow sense.

Theology is the purest expression of rationalism in the sense of proceeding by logical deduction from premises ungrounded in observable fact—deduction without reference to reality. The so-called “thinking” involved here is purely formal, observationally baseless, devoid of facts, cut off from reality. Thomas Aquinas, for example, was history’s foremost expert regarding the field of “angelology.” No one could match his “knowledge” of angels, and he devoted far more of his massive Summa Theologica to them than to physics.”
Andrew Bernstein

Erasmus Darwin
“The late Mr. David Hume, in his posthumous works, places the powers of generation much above those of our boasted reason; and adds, that reason can only make a machine, as a clock or a ship, but the power of generation makes the maker of the machine; ... he concludes, that the world itself might have been generated, rather than created ; that is, it might have been gradually produced from very small beginnings, increasing by the activity of its inherent principles, rather than by a sudden evolution of the whole by the Almighty fiat.”
Erasmus Darwin

Joseph B.H. McMillan
“When Friedrich Nietzsche mocked Immanuel Kant for having "discovered a moral faculty in man", he inadvertently resolved Kant's dilemma of being unable to identify what exactly constituted his "moral law" for fear of offending against a charge of empiricism from the likes of David Hume.”
Joseph B.H. McMillan, A 'Final Theory' of God

Antony Flew
“Generations of Humeans have… been misled into offering analyses of causation and of natural law that have been far too weak because they had no basis for accepting the existence of either cause and effect or natural laws… Hume’s scepticism about cause and effect and his agnosticism about the external world are of course jettisoned the moment he leaves his study.”
Anthony Flew

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
“»Die Gewohnheit hat mich das Landleben so sehr liebgewinnen lassen, dass ich sofort vor Traurigkeit sterben würde, könnte ich keine blühenden Bäume mehr von Nahem sehen; das ist wohl keine gute Ausgangslage, um die schwarzen Dämpfe in den Straßen dieser großen Stadt einzuatmen, (…).

[Rousseau an Comtesse de Boufflers, Môtiers-Travers, 20. August 1762]”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Leben Sie wohl für immer: Die Affäre Hume-Rousseau in Briefen und Zeitdokumenten

Giorgio Agamben
“But the analogy is even stronger and deeper than the image of the “invisi- ble hand” allows us to infer. Didier Deleule has magisterially analyzed the link between Hume and Smith’s thought and the birth of economic liberalism. He opposes the “naturalism” of Hume and Smith to the “providentialism” of the Physiocrats who are direct tributaries, as we have seen, of a theological paradigm. To the idea of an original divine design, comparable to a project developed in the brain, Hume opposes, as we have seen, that of an absolutely immanent prin- ciple of order, which functions instead as a “stomach,” rather than as a brain. “Why,” he makes Philo ask, “can an ordered system not be woven out of a stom- ach rather than a brain”? (Deleule, pp. 259 and 305, note 30). If it is probable that the Smithian image of the invisible hand is to be understood, in this sense, as the action of an immanent principle, our reconstruction of the bipolar machineof the theological oikonomia has shown that there is no conflict between “provi- dentialism” and “naturalism” within it, because the machine functions precisely by correlating a transcendent principle with an immanent order. Just as with the Kingdom and the Government, the intradivine trinity and the economic trinity, so the “brain” and the “stomach” are nothing but two sides of the same apparatus, of the same oikonomia, within which one of the two poles can, at each turn, dominate the other.”
Giorgio Agamben, The Omnibus Homo Sacer

Bertrand Russell
“It is therefore important to discover whether there is any answer to Hume within the framework of a philosophy that is wholly or mainly empirical. If not, there is no intellectual difference between sanity and insanity. The lunatic who believes that he is a poached egg is to be condemned solely on the ground that he is in a minority, or rather — since we must not assume democracy — on the ground that the government does not agree with him. This is a desperate point of view, and it must be hoped that there is some way of escaping from it.”
Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy