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Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel

3rd Quarter: Hume to Hegel

These notes cover from David Hume through to Hegel. Test is on 3/19/14. Key details are bolded for clarity.

David Hume (1711-1776)

Part of the Scottish Enlightenment

Theistic Enlightenment

Continental Rationalists and British Empiricists

Atheistic Enlightenment

French Enlightenment

Hume is in the middle

"David Hume awakened me from my dogmatic slumbers." Immanuel Kant

Likeable guy, life of the party, witty Not atheist, but biggest attacker of Christianity

Radical skeptic

Self-proclaimed hedonist, but followed Epicureanism

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Hedonism- highest good is pleasure Epicureanism

Appreciates the hedonistic paradox Balanced and disciplined in pursuing pleasure

Enters the University at Edinburgh at age 12

Wrote An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding
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Aroused Kant Differentiated between Metaphysics and Science.

Certainty is possible at the scientific level in math, logic, and hard empiricism Certainty is not possible at the metaphysical level in ethics and theology

Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel

Talking Points
1). Impressions and Ideas


Original experience of senses Lively and vivacious, uncontrollable, called first order experience They are real, but the cause of them is unknown Leads to impressionistic painting and music


What are left after impressions Images of impressions, memory images in the imagination

Imagination is the ability to reproduce the original impressions

Disproved Locke's Law of Nature.

2). Customary Relationships

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We dont know if there is a cause Our impressions come together in a particular fashion to give us the sense that two things are happening simultaneously, when they aren't

Movie at a theater.

Film track and soundtrack simultaneous, but separate.

3). Induction
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Induction argues from the particular to the universal. Can only give probability, not certainty 2 justifications for it

The future must resemble the past as a matter of

1. logical necessity, but we can't know that for sure 2. Possibility, high, but fails due to lack of certainty, like flipping a coin ;)

Nothing more than a customary relationship

4). The Self (Leads to Kant)

Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel


We have no way to be sure that we are the same person as we were 10 years ago, are real, and are self-conscious

5). God and essence (Leads to Kant)

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We cannot know for sure that there is God Reason can't tell me that he exists because it depends on non-demonstrable proofs like causation

We can't know if there is anything else

6). Reason: Instrumentalism


Reason is not the method by which the mind reaches conclusions, but the method by which the mind defends convictions already reached (arbitrary).

7). Morality
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No absolute morality We use reason to defend our moral convictions, not to discover them Leads to utilitarianism

Jeremy Bentham

Ok job, partial and inadequate

John Stuart Mills

Very robust, very adequate

Ought versus is

Hume says we cannot know what we ought to do, seeing as we can barely know what is

8). Critique of Miracles


Christians are convinced of miracles, but for Hume:

"I see reports in the Bible and elsewhere that miracles happen, but as a reasonable man, I haven't experienced them, nor has anyone else, so the writers of the Bible were either deceived or lying. (Hint, hint Hume theyre called miracles for a reason. Just saying)

Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel

Immanuel Kant
Grew up in a Lutheran Pietistic Home
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Devotional Christianity Privatized faith

Realized that the philosophy of Hume destroys everything


Abandoned his pietism at this point.

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British Empiricism and Continental Rationalism Driving apart faith and reason All philosophy since Kant has its roots in him

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Born in 1724 Really boring, kind of OCD (remember the detail about the neighbors setting their clocks by his actions).

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Philosophy professor in Prussia Read Hume, and then spent 10 years writing The Critique of Pure Reason.

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The Critique of Pure Reason Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics The Critique of Practical Reason Critique of Judgment


Kant breaks it down into 3 categories:

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Self God Essence

Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel

Kant in 6 easy lessons

1). The "Copernican revolution of the mind"

Took the mind from outside of philosophy and made it central, as Copernicus had done with the sun

Subjectivism is born.

Instead of their being an objective standard that we look at, we only look at what is going on in the mind.

2). The Country Kitchen

There are all sorts of different sized and shaped jars in the kitchen with various contents

Jars= concepts= sizes Contents= percepts= flavors

Percepts are raw, unordered perceptions

There is no correlation between concepts and percepts

3). The Sausage Grinder

The mind is the grinder Information comes in through pure intuitions, the first of two channels, part of the mind

Space and time

Information also comes in through percepts Inside the grinder is concepts

Order the percepts coming in and puts them in context Innate sorting mechanism


Unity, plurality, totality


Spectrum: reality and negation (non-reality) around limitation


Substance versus accidents in a sense

Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel

Applies to the way we think about life, causality


Possibility and impossibility Existence and non-existence Necessity versus contingency

All have the same machinery

Knowledge is the output

Knowledge is sorting percepts into categories Transcendental Apperception of the Ego

Transcendental => faith Ego=self, not waffles

We have no perception of the self.

We take percepts from the noumenal world

Raw, unordered, chaotic world of stimuli and sense experience

The output is the world of phenomena

We can fully know the phenomenal world, but we can never get to the noumenal world.

"Percepts without concepts are blind. Concepts without percepts are empty." Kant

4). Transcendental Apperception of the Ego because consciousness is the output of the sausage grinder (And regardless of what you all say, were abbreviating it as TAE)


That which underlies human knowledge, but which itself is unknowable. We are immediately aware of our own existence, but are not able to perceive what is perceiving.


The ground of perception. It cannot be perceived, but without it, perception would be impossible


Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel

The self (not talking about waffles)

Same line of argumentation used for God and the noumenal world

5). Noumenal/ Phenomenal (Kant's Wall)


Objective order outside of sausage grinder Feeds percepts into grinder Essences- cannot be studied phenomenally


We must then get rid of theology, as God cannot be studied phenomenally. Replace with religion.


Get rid of ethics, as there can be no freedom. Man becomes a machine. Morality takes its place.

The Thing In Itself

Get rid of the laws of nature, as they cannot be verified empirically. Sociology takes its place.

We must get rid of the Laws of Nature, Ethics, and Theology because they cannot be part of the phenomenal world.

6). Practical reason We need God, self, and the thing in itself to be there as a practical necessity.

We must presuppose them, take it on faith that they are there Moral Argument for the Existence of God

As humans, we all have a sense of duty That sense of duty is critical to our existence; strategic That sense of duty is derived from ethics In order for ethics to be there, there must be justice

Not really ever part of this world God is watching you

Justice is outside of this world, implies

Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel

Afterlife Judge

Fully righteous All powerful All knowing (All the characteristics of the Christian God)

Other Details

Categorical Imperative

We have a sense of obligation This sense of oughtness is something we share in common and is in conflict Solution: assume that there is a standard "Act according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law."

Four Observations/Criticisms


Led to theological liberalism


Why are the categories in our mind all the same?


Percepts cause our experience, yet are uncaused themselves

Metaphysics cannot be done

We can no longer study reality Kant destroyed the study of metaphysics

At the end of the day, with this philosophy, we Kant apply reason to God, the Self, or the ThingIn-Itself (you can laugh now).

Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel

Georg Hegel
Basic Philosophical Background:
Along with Kant, created 19th century philosophy

Dialectical Idealist Three emphases



See noumenal truth at the phenomenal level through history


What does history reveal?


God's truth revealed in the conflict of history

In the end, he basically redefined reason

Four critiques of Kant


God and Self

Hegel denies that there is an individual, private self. Hegel denies that there is an eternal, transcendent being called God God becomes:

The Absolute Ego The Absolute Spirit Reason The Ideal

We are part of a reality that is God

God is inside us

Absolute Ego

"Hive mind", collectivist in nature

Leads to people like Hitler

All egos are connected together

Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel


The Thing in Itself

Hegel says that there is no objective order, all is subjective

Kant's Categories

We all share the same categories because we are all part of this Great Mind

Denies Antinomies (paradoxical in nature, seem to break all laws)

Kant's antinomies

If you take reason across the wall, you will hit contradictions, meet unresolvable antinomies

Hegel says these antinomies can be solved

Solved in the dialectic

Dialectical Triad
Hegel starts with a thesis, countered by an antithesis, resolved in a synthesis.
o o o

The new synthesis becomes a new thesis, and the cycle continues Each synthesis is a little progress, a little step in evolution You can have multiple syntheses from a set of thesis vs. antithesis
Thesis Synthesis Antithesis

The Dialectic is a series of tension, resolution that repeats itself


Engine of process

Toward a utopia, which cannot be described

We are helping God achieve perfection

Therefore, ethnic cleansings, the Holocaust, Planned Parenthood, and eugenics are allowed and should be promoted


Literally means "Lifting out of" Happens the moment the synthesis is produced.

Hegel and Spinoza


Hegel brings a utopia and an interest in history to the table, while Spinoza doesnt.


Philosophy Notes Hume, Kant, Hegel


"The plain of history is the unfolding (making concrete) of the Absolute Spirit."

History is where God reveals himself concretely in history


Two streams



Dialectical Materialist Conflict between classes, managers and workers, etc.


Dialectical Biologist On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.

Conflict between species


Dialectical Psychologist Conflict between the Id (the it) and the Super-ego that is resolved in the Ego.

The Id is sexual, base instincts The super-ego is kind of like your conscience


Popularized the phrase "Survival of the Fittest" (racist) His student was Walter Bagehot, who taught Heinrich Himmler, the Head of the SS for Hitler.

Christian Liberalism

Schleiermacher Harnack Baur

Anti-Hegelian branches

Nietzsche, Compte, Kierkegaard