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    Hume's Treatise: A Summary of Section 1

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    Summarize Hume's arguments for the basic division of mental contents into impressions and ideas, and the causal priority of impressions (Treatise of Human Nature, Section 1).

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    Hume's psychological model depends on two basic distinctions: the contents of the mind divide up into (1) impressions and ideas, and (2) simple and complex 'perceptions' [i.e., impressions and ideas].

    The difference between impressions and ideas is made out in terms of the vivacity or force with which tokens of each class strike the mind. Vivacious perceptions are called impressions, and include sensations, emotions, and passions [p. 1] as they appear as occurrant states of consciousness; ideas are faint impression-like perceptions as employed in contexts other than those of sensation and emotion such as reasoning. Hume has in mind here the distinction between, (e.g.) what it is like to witness some grizzly act of violence as opposed to discussing a (particular) 'grizzly act of violence' in an ethics seminar. Hume concedes that the difference between impressions and ideas is one of degree so that some of one's impressions might be very feeble, and some ideas of significant force.

    Hume's second basic distinction, between simple and complex impressions or ideas, ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution summarizes Hume's arguments for the basic division of mental contents into impressions and ideas and the casual priority of impressions.

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