Theory Of Belief

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Problem with Hume's Theory of Belief

Problem with Hume's Theory of Belief


There are a number of problems and arguments against Hume's theory of belief in his work “A treatise of Human Nature”. According to Hume, a person develops beliefs by believing in ideas. Moreover, Hume maintains that these ideas may be different from other ideas with respect to their intensity and liveliness. Here, Hume introduces readers to another perspective termed as an “Impression”. In addition, Hume maintains that the intensity and liveliness of an idea depends on such impressions. As a result, Hume forms a definition of belief by stating that it is a vivacious idea pertaining to a current impression (Hume 1978, Pp. 244-624).

Hume's theory of belief provides a number of examples in which, Hume suggests that ideas are “mental images or pictures” of an impression. This example is obvious when Hume on page 3 of the Treatise mentions that when he closes his eyes, and think of his chamber, he forms ideas, which represent the impressions he feels. However, there is a significant problem with this perspective of an impression or mental images of an idea. Ideas of impressions have nothing to do with such mental pictures. It is not essential that every idea is a picture or a perceived image of an image such as a snapshot or a replica of an image, which a person can see after an event takes place.


The issue of belief and difficulty offers one of the notions that turn out to be the most complex in the philosophical vocabulary. Hume himself is aware of this problem because, on the one hand, the belief as a functional reality seems obvious, but there is no such explanation as functional reality.

Sometimes, the terms belief and faith are used interchangeably. Others are used according to certain linguistic habits. Commonly, the term often used today is a belief in a general sense, while the term faith is reserved for a more concrete level, to designate religious beliefs. In fact, belief or faith of Hume can be seen as the culmination of the process of secularization of the faith, since, in a religious sense, it has been insisting in the field of philosophy. Then they lose their character, and religious faith becomes metaphysics. However, Hume not only loses the religious aspect, but also the metaphysical and anthropological takes on a character.

Hume's most often cited works include A Treatise of Human Nature (three volumes, 1739-40); an Abstract (1740) of volumes 1 and 2 of the Treatise; a collection of approximately forty essays. These essays include Moral, Political, and Literary, first published, for the most part, between 1741 and 1752). Other work includes An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748); An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals (1751) and The Natural History of Religion (1757). Moreover, Hume's work include a six-volume History of England from Roman times to 1688 (1754-62); a brief autobiography, My Own Life (1777); and Dialogues concerning Natural Religion ...
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