Adjectives on the Typewriter

she moves her words like a prizefighter

17 May 2005

Wrestling with Hume

Yes, so we've moved at all too rapid a pace until reaching the Continental Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) and the British Empiricists (Berkeley, Locke and Hume). And though I didn't much like what Descartes did with induction- which I believe was at least slightly marred by the professor's bias- I find Hume's philosophy absolutely repugnant, even in comparison. And yet my refutations crumble before the professor's rhetorical battering ram.

Here's what little I managed to write last night:

Despite the accusations of my opponents, I don't reject Hume because I dogmatically hate. That would be rash-- throwing the baby out with the bath water, in effect. But when the baby has drowned in the fetid water, reason demands they both be thrown out.

Hume has no concept of truth. For him, it's either analytic (viz tautological) and thus completely impractical, or synthetic and thus merely a fleeting human "impression." And, even ignoring the fact that these implications are false, some truths are both analytic and synthetic- the two interact.

Consider, for example, the proposition "God exists." God, by definition, exists, for He is the highest, most perfect form of reality (see Anselm's ontological argument). Nevertheless, we also know He exists because we witness the aspects of His existence in creation through general revelation (Romans 1:20). So the truth of God's existence is both tautological and experienced through finite human impressions.

Thus Hume, while guarding against a post hoc, ergo propter hoc of the highest degree, is guilty of an even more serious apriorism.

The fool has said in his heart "there is no God"...

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