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Free «Hume’s Copy Principle» Essay Sample

Hume says in his Copy Principle that each and every simple idea is a duplicate of a certain simple impression that has really creates a tough argument among the scholars of Hume. This really contributes to show Hume effort despite of the opposition. This also results too many thoughts such that if the Copy Principle is a simple experimental generalization, it therefore do not comprise of efficient power to be used to contest the assertions of Hume’s predecessors due to the provocative ideas. On the other hand, if the only alternative to the Copy Principle is an experimental generalization would result it to be viewed as an a priori principle. The alternative seems unappealing to Hume’s copy principle since it under estimate Hume’s obligation of attaining a pre experimental science of man.it also as well makes Hume to openly doubt the chances of any priori principles concerning the causal networks between the Copy Principle and ideas having a causal element. This proves that, the Copy Principle cannot be an a priori principle. All in all Hume is supported by other philosophers as well himself fights against the contradiction of the copy principle hence able to avoid the problems.



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Hume views that the Copy Principle as a worldwide maxim to differentiate significant ideas from voids ideas. In the Copy Principle it is revealed that each and every observation can be characterized by their degree of vivacity and force into ideas and impressions (Stanley ,2008).Impressions are termed as perception consisting live in one’s desire or will, seeing, hearing and feeling aspect as well as when one seem to love or hate something or somebody. Ideas and thought are viewed as true prints of its objects due to the liveliness aspect introduced to it rather than the dull sensation it comprises before the publication of the Copy Principle. This proves that copy principle is vital since it the reflection of sensory experience from the concept of thoughts and ideas .The Copy Principle reveals that each and every idea, however compounded, are obtained from simpler ideas which are duplicates from a related impression. In the Copy Principle, concept is that whether the ideas are simple or complex are viewed as copies of an impression. This shows that any kind of manipulation of the impression can make ideas not to be meaningful in the society.

It seems very appealing to many, on the fact that ideas are derived from sense experience. However, there are other ideas such as the complex ideas that seem to have no relation in one’s sense experience. This is proved in the principle which reveals that it is only the simple ideas that are duplicates of impression while complex ideas are not. Instead, the complex ideas are constructed from simple ideas. A good example is given by use of unicorns where it represents the experience horse, whiteness and corns which when combined result to formation of unicorn (Stanley, 2008). Hume comes up with various arguments that try to show that in the process of establishing new complex ideas, one can only make use of the available equipment from the impression and therefore there is no alteration made in the initial impression found in the simple ideas.

Hume believes in himself and therefore he tends to view his principle based on truthful thoughts and innovation. As a result of this fact in his mind, he goes ahead and presents two different supportive arguments of his truth. He argues and all ideas can be testified by use of simple ideas since each correspond to a given impression. This is made clear by use if a sample, in the direct opposition to the Descartes, whereby Hume claims that God’s proposals are based on thoughts of infinity and perfection is derived from the concept of finitude and imperfection. The concepts used by God ,as way of expressing intelligence, infinite, goodness and wisdom of human beings are as result of reflecting a person’s actions in the mind.

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In the second argument of Hume, he argues that lack of consisting of a certain kind of experience shows that a person consist of insufficient ability to formulate an idea from the experience. This argument acts a challenging aspect to the first argument. Nevertheless, it act on basis of truth and therefore despite the contrast to the same argument by the same person, Hume does not prevent the argument from being considered as a validity reason for the truth of the principle. The acceptance and reality of the reason is revealed by relating incidents such as in a blind case scenario of a person, it is hard for the person to identity the color in question unless he or she make use of the techniques of the blind to recognize the color (Stanley,2008).

Hume later on discovers an exception to his principle on the concept that all the simple ideas are copies of impression. The notion is revealed when someone happens to view all shades of blue apart from one and goes ahead to represent it in a spectrum of blue inclusive of the unavailability of the one shade. This is made possible when one tends to make use of their imagination since it enables them to formulate an idea cornering the shade despite the fact that the idea is not obtained from an impression. Hume tend to defer with the implication basing his facts on the Copy Principle that clear explains that simple ideas are copies of impression. He takes some cautions ahead and applies his philosophy in the Copy Principle, to discard the concept such as the causal necessity, substance and the self (Stanley, 2008). This is a result of his belief that impression is viewed as a vital aspect in ideas that makes him to make them verification of ideas. However in the missing shade of blue, impression are not essential since the ideas are still formulated without their presence. This makes people to doubt the data of Copy Principle and argue that maybe even ideas of self, substance or necessity can be designed without the use of impression. The missing shade for the blue really reveals Hume argument as a contradiction in respect to the case.

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The contraction created by the missing shade on the blue and the Copy Principle poses a threat to it. The concept of using necessity, self and substance to analysis the complex ideas which are established from the simple ideas result to comparison of thoughts depicted from Hume’s principle. He says that the idea of the self is based on perception and thoughts which the main aspects that undergoes the changes during the test of impression. He uses the physical substance argument by involving the idea of a physical object which he explains as an independent existence of one’s experience.

Hume poses question on how the notion whereby he goes ahead and try to view the concept by use of a desk. He says he witness the presence of a desk by use of his eyes for a moment and later on he still sees it. This makes him to realize that if the two experiences in question are similar and based on the some object, the desk, then it simply means that the desk still existed even the moment he was observing it. This idea of physical substances, it existing independently to own experiences creates some confusion of resemblance with the reality. This confusion in the Copy Principle tends not to be an accurate concept to be used in the missing shade idea. The contradiction of the argument on the missing shade idea and Hume’s principle evokes question and doubts of the principle.

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The arising dispute on the Copy principle is dealt with appropriately. There is innovation of two solutions that accepts the exception in the case of the shade of blue while still hold constantly on Hume’s perception of ideas based on impression. The first suggestion to the problem tend to weaken the copy principle hence making Hume to argue that words get their meaning from ideas while the ideas obtain their meaning from impression. The Copy Principle then tends to state that, “an idea is said to be meaningful, if it is obtained from impression of things that have been encountered in experience” (Stanley, 2008). This solution is settled for once Hume agrees that there is no impression of self, necessity or substance.

The second solution maintains the concept in the Copy Principle, while it still explains how and the reason why the missing shade of blue is an exemption. In the incident, the simple impression of various shades of blue are arranged in order of similarities whereby it is identified that they are unlike to each other. However, there can be formulation of ideas of the missing determinant from the existing shades that are similar, which only works in cases of a systematic connection of ideas. This suggestion is accepted from the concept of self, substance and necessity that proves that there no any impression that cannot derive a meaningful idea.

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The suggested solution obtained by Hume on the problem of the Copy Principle seems neither clear nor appropriate to be depended upon, despite the good reasons he uses to analysis the complex ideas. This is because the reasons do not fully provide basis for working on all the complex ideas. Eventually, some of the attempt of analyzing the philosophical concept on basis of Hume’s principle fails to produce an agreement.


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