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David Hume

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David Hume

David Hume was born on May 7, 1711 in Edinburgh, Scotland, into a middle class family. His father died while he was young and left him with wage of 50 pounds a year. When he was twelve years old he went to Edinburgh University but dropped out three years later without receiving a degree. Hume had a plan to be a "literary hero" instead of practicing law like he was supposed to do, so he spent the next three years of his life reading Greek and Roman classics. In 1729 he already had a plan for his first literary work. In 1734 he moved to France where he was able to live more comfortably with his 50 pounds a year and could study and read more than ever before.

In 1739, A Treatise of Human Nature was published after Hume returned to England with expectations of fame. Hume was very disappointed when the public generally ignored his writing. Hume turned to writing political essays which were more successful, and applied to be an ethics professor at Edinburgh University. Although easily qualified for the position, he was denied the job because of his supposed Atheism.

After this, he turned around and rewrote A Treatise of Human Nature in order to clarify some of his views that offended people. His revision was titled An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. In 1751 Hume published An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. This writing was not an instant success, and after serving briefly in the military, he began to write Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and The History of England, which was published in six volumes from 1754 to 1762. Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion was not published until three years after his death in 1779. The History of England provided him with the literary fame he always wanted, rather than his extensive philosophical works which were pretty much ignored by the public because everyone thought he was Atheist and didn't want to "buy into" his ideas.

From 1763 to 1767, Hume was Secretary of the British Ambassador to France, Earl of Hertford. In 1767 he returned to Scotland and finally had no financial worries. Hume was now receiving around 1,000 pounds a year from his writings. In 1775 he became ill, and died peacefully on August 25 of 1776.

David Hume looked at the world in logical terms only. He was a realist who, through philosophy, always had to distinguish between the impressions of human experience and the ideas which are changing representations of life experiences. Hume was also a skeptic, who did not accept anything that presented itself as knowledge until it was proven to be so. Hume believed that people act based on customs and "tradition" instead of reason. He believed that a relationship will follow its own definition as casual, sexual, romantic, friendly, unhealthy and so on based on single events and occurrences that happened during the last encounter of the people in the relationship. And that each event was singular and not directly linked with the last, that's just how we perceived the encounters to be because we were acting and perceiving the relationship as a custom or tradition. Not just the relationship but our actions, emotions, and outlooks were all "supposed" to follow in a certain manner, and so they follow this manner because it is what we expect (as tradition.) This is probably not very clearly explained by me because I had trouble reading it myself, interpreting it for myself, and writing down what I interpreted (or thought I interpreted) from my research.

Like I mentioned earlier, Hume was suspected to be an Atheist. Even though Hume never denied God's existence, he felt it was wrong to believe in miracles and give God credit to the experience of a "miracle." Whenever Hume would hear of a miracle he would test it against rules



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