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Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper

Date of publication: 2017-07-09 10:02

The wise lend a very academic faith to every report which favours the passion of the reporter whether it magnifies his country, his family, or himself, or in any other way strikes in with his natural inclinations and propensities. But what greater temptation than to appear a missionary, a prophet, an ambassador from heaven? Who would not encounter many dangers and difficulties, in order to attain so sublime a character? Or if, by the help of vanity and a heated imagination, a man has first made a convert of himself, and entered seriously into the delusion who ever scruples to make use of pious frauds, in support of so holy and meritorious a cause?

EMT - Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

But as, after all, the abstractedness of these speculations is no recommendation, but rather a disadvantage to them, and as this difficulty may perhaps be surmounted by care and art, and the avoiding of all unnecessary detail, we have, in the following enquiry, attempted to throw some light upon subjects, from which uncertainty has hitherto deterred the wise, and obscurity the ignorant. Happy, if we can unite the boundaries of the different species of philosophy, by reconciling profound enquiry with clearness, and truth with novelty! And still more happy, if, reasoning in this easy manner, we can undermine the foundations of an abstruse philosophy, which seems to have hitherto served only as a shelter to superstition, and a cover to absurdity and error!

David Hume > By Individual Philosopher > Philosophy

You find certain ph æ ae originally ' xE6 ' separated to make searching the text easier nomena in nature. You seek a cause or author. You imagine that you have found him. You afterwards become so enamoured of this offspring of your brain, that you imagine it impossible, but he must produce something greater and more perfect than the present scene of things, which is so full of ill and disorder. You forget, that this superlative intelligence and benevolence are entirely imaginary, or, at least, without any

SparkNotes: Essay Concerning Human Understanding

When we infer any particular cause from an effect, we must proportion the one to the other, and can never be allowed to ascribe to the cause any qualities, but what are exactly sufficient to produce the effect. A body of ten ounces raised in any scale may serve as a proof, that the counterbalancing weight exceeds ten ounces but can never afford a reason that it exceeds a hundred. If the cause, assigned for any effect, be not sufficient to produce it, we must either reject that cause, or add to it such qualities as will give it a just proportion to the effect. But if we ascribe to it farther qualities, or affirm it capable of producing other effects, we can only indulge the licence of conjecture, and arbitrarily suppose the existence of qualities and energies, without reason or authority.

There are many other advantages too, in the former theory, which recommended it to the ancient Theologians. Nothing more repugnant to all their notions, because nothing more repugnant to common experience, than mind without body a mere spiritual substance, which fell not under their senses nor comprehension, and of which they had not observed one single instance throughout all nature. Mind and body they knew, because they felt both: an order, arrangement, organization, or internal machinery in both they likewise knew, after the same manner: and it could not but seem reasonable to transfer this experience to the universe, and to suppose the divine mind and body to be also coeval, and to have, both of them, order and arrangement naturally inherent in them, and inseparable from them.

Why then, replied Cleanthes , it seems to me, that, though the world does, in many circumstances, resemble an animal body yet is the analogy also defective in many circumstances, the most material: no organs of sense no seat of thought or reason no one precise origin of motion and action. In short, it seems to bear a stronger resemblance to a vegetable than to an animal, and your inference would be so far inconclusive in favour of the soul of the world.

The existence, therefore, of any being can only be proved by arguments from its cause or its effect and these arguments are founded entirely on experience. If we reason à priori , any thing may appear able to produce any thing. The falling of a pebble may, for ought we know, extinguish the sun or the wish of a man controul the planets in their orbits. It is only experience, which teaches us the nature and bounds of cause and effect, and enables us to infer the existence of one object from that of another 5 originally '*' footnotes have been numbered for ease of reference 85 * . Such is the foundation of moral reasoning, which forms the greater part of human knowledge, and is the source of all human action and behaviour.

In Book 7, Chapter 76 of the Essay Locke explores the topic of the will. One of the things which separates people from rocks and billiard balls is our ability to make decisions and control our actions. We feel that we are free in certain respects and that we have the power to choose certain thoughts and actions. Locke calls this power the will. But there are tricky questions about what this power consists in and about what it takes to freely (or voluntarily) choose something. contains a delicate and sustained discussion of these tricky questions.

In making the requirements for Christian faith and salvation so minimal Locke was part of a growing faction in the Church of England. These individuals, often known as latitudinarians, were deliberately attempting to construct a more irenic Christianity with the goal of avoiding the conflict and controversy that previous internecine fights had produced. So Locke was hardly alone in attempting to find a set of core Christian commitments which were free of sectarian theological baggage. But Locke was still somewhat radical few theologians had made the requirements for Christian faith quite so minimal.

Hume first advanced his new theory of rationality in A Treatise of Human Nature , most of which was written by the time he was twenty-six, and which was, he claimed, mapped out while he was still a teenager. When the Treatise did not produce quite the philosophical revolution that he had been counting on, Hume blamed its failure mainly on the way he had expressed himself, not on the book&rsquo s main ideas. He then set out to find other ways to communicate them, and other literary projects to pursue.

In reality, there is no part of matter, that does ever, by its sensible qualities, discover any power or energy, or give us ground to imagine, that it could produce any thing, or be followed by any other object, which we could denominate its effect. Solidity, extension, motion these qualities are all complete in themselves, and never point out any other event which may result from them. The scenes of the universe are continually shifting, and one object follows another in an uninterrupted succession but the power or force, which actuates the whole machine, is entirely concealed from us, and never discovers itself in any of the sensible

9. After we have acquired a confidence in human testimony, books and conversation enlarge much more the sphere of one man’s experience and thought than those of another.

Around the time of the Essay the mechanical philosophy was emerging as the predominant theory about the physical world. The mechanical philosophy held that the fundamental entities in the physical world were small individual bodies called corpuscles. Each corpuscle was solid, extended, and had a certain shape. These corpuscles could combine together to form ordinary objects like rocks, tables, and plants. The mechanical philosophy argued that all features of bodies and all natural phenomena could be explained by appeal to these corpuscles and their basic properties (in particular, size, shape, and motion).

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