Immateriality of the Soul - Hume

  • Book 1, Part 4, Section 5

    •  Of the Immateriality of the Soul
      • "As every idea is derived from a precedent impression, had we any idea of the substance of our minds, we must also have an impression of it."
        • impressions represent substances by resembling the substance
        • the mind is not a substance (according to Cartesians)
        • so, we cannot have an impression of the mind itself
        • if we cannot have an impression of the mind, then how do we get an idea of the mind?
      • Concerning the Cartesian definition of substance as that which can exist by itself

      • everything fits this definition
      • Principle 1: "Whatever is clearly conceived may exist, and whatever is clearly conceived after any manner may exist after the same manner."
      • Principle 2: "Everything which is different is distinguishable, and everything which is distinguishable is separable by the imagination."
      • Perceptions are different from themselves and everything else
      • Perceptions are distinct and separable
      • Perceptions can be considered separately
      • Perceptions can exist separately
      • Therefore, according to the Cartesian definition of substance, perceptions are substances
    • On substance
      • "We have no perfect idea of anything but of a perception."
      • "A substance is entirely different from a perception."
      • "We have, therefore, no idea of a substance."
    • On inhesion
      • "Inhesion in something is supposed to be requisite to support the existence of our perceptions."
      • "Nothing appears requisite to support the existence of a perception."
      • "We have, therefore, no idea of inhesion."
    • Thought and extension are incompatible and cannot incorporate in the same subject
    • Maxim: "An object may exist and yet be nowhere."
      • when its parts are situated so they have no figure or quantity
      • "nor the whole with respect to other bodies"
      • from our perspective, we cannot form any notion of its contiguity or distance
      • true of perceptions and objects other than those of sight and touch
      • they are incompatible with space

Hume, David. Treatise of Human Nature

I study philosophy and social theory at the University of South Florida. I am also a photographer, map lover and sometimes poet.