Hume’s Enquiry III, Of the Association of Ideas
A. Principles of Association
· Besides the ability of our mind to actively conjure up new ideas by combining old ones, it has the ability to bring one idea after another into consciousness
· What is a train of thought?
· A series of ideas, one leasing to another
· Hume believes that you can take any sequence of ideas, and no matter how wild it gets, or how much difference there is between the 1st and the last, there is an order to the sequence
· One thought leads to another
· What made you think of that?
look at grade book à think of students à one student looks like brother à think of brother à think of family à think of childhood à think of long lost friend à he calls à I was just thinking of you! à why? àI was looking at my grade book!
· The order is reducible to 3 principles of association
3) Cause and Effect
B. Sources of Ideas
Creative Imagination we (actively)
compound, transpose, conjure up
augment, diminsh new ideas
Automatic Association one idea
experience copies of resemblance, contiguity, (passively) leads
experience cause and effect to another
Manipulation of Experience Contents of Thought
(powers of the mind)
C. The Question
· Hume has great interest in these principles of association - particularly the third one - Causation
· What he wants to know is how ideas get connected in this way
· What accounts from one idea following another?
· Are we born with it?
· Do we learn it?
· Does reason have anything to do with it?
· The significance of the answer is that it will account for the origin of relations
· And these will account for the origin of inference
· Ultimately, he will use this to evaluate inference
· Sections IV and V are an attempt to answer the question of the origin of association (relation)