The Impossibility of Metaphysics Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1552 words (4.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In his work An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume outlines the problems inherent to the large body of philosophy he describes as the “accurate and abstract” philosophy, and in particular to metaphysical speculations. Seeing that many of the philosophers who endeavor in this heavy metaphysical speculation (Aristotle, Locke and Malebranche being particular examples) fall into errors that lead to absurd or counter-intuitive conclusions, Hume hopes to limit metaphysical speculation to a realm where it is less prone to such a fate. Hume attempts to reign the difficult kind of philosophy into the service of the body of work he contrasts it with, the “easy and obvious,” by establishing a method and clarity for metaphysics that he hopes will lead to the kind of progress that science has seen. Over the course of his inquiry, though, Hume seems at varying times to need more metaphysics or less, at times denying a rational basis for causation, and at others working from the notion of causation as a necessary premise in his evaluations and arguments. The overall effect this has on his project concerning metaphysics is unclear, and in the course of this paper, I will outline his general argument and commitments, in particular the emphasis he puts on both experience and the scope of human reason, reconstruct his argument from these commitments, and finally evaluate the arguments for Hume’s conclusions about metaphysics.
Hume’s first step in part two of the Inquiry is to draw a line between impressions and ideas, with impressions being the experience of sensory perception, and ideas being recollections of prior impressions, albeit with less vivacity. Immediately this excludes innate ideas from Hume’s model of the mind, and, while th...

... middle of paper ...

...ed to human reason can be demonstrated adequately against, the only way revisions to Hume’s model of the mind can come about are through experiencing directly the mind’s capability to extend beyond the limitations he ascribes to it; mainly regarding what the mind brings to experience. Even if it is the case that the mind brings a kind of framework or some other content to experience from which it can anticipate the things it can experience a priori, we would have to experience that ability before we could reasonably conclude that the mind is capable of such feats in light of Hume’s arguments. The only real options available for reintroducing the possibility of metaphysics are to either experience a new capability of the mind beyond Hume’s description, or to push Hume’s commitments to a point where they produce an absurdity, and can be rejected by Hume’s own criteria.

Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Discourse on Metaphysics by Leibniz Essay - Discourse on Metaphysics by Leibniz In the Discourse on Metaphysics by Leibniz he suggest that, "we maintain that everything that is to happen to some person is already contained virtually in his nature or notion, as properties of a circle are contained in its definition." This assertion raised a difficulty for Leibniz. This difficulty was that "human freedom will no longer hold, and that an absolute fatality would rule over all our actions as well as over all the rest of what happens in the world." With such a reality there would be no use for free will and whatever fate succumbs an individual is the will of the Most High; in other words, being destined....   [tags: Papers] 616 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Duty and Morality in Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals - This selection is only the first section of Immanuel Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. I am only going to discuss duty and morality. Kant gives three propositions regarding duty (p.107). Kant argues that the will that acts from reason is the will guided by duty. The first proposition helps us distinguish which actions have moral worth by differentiating acts that are motivated because of duty and acts that are not. Kant shows the differences using a few examples, the first is a salesman who does not overcharge a customer even if he knows they are inexperienced, but the salesman’s reasoning behind this is that he doesn’t want to tarnish his reputation if he were to get caught ov...   [tags: Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals]
:: 1 Works Cited
406 words
(1.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Conception of the Interaction Between Substance in Leibniz’s Monadology and Discourse on Metaphysics - A significant aspect in Leibniz’s Monadology and Discourse on Metaphysics, is his conception of simple substance and interaction. Leibniz assigns the term Monad to all simple substances. Monads are beings without parts, for which “neither extension, nor shape, nor divisibility is possible” (M3). Monads can exist as determined, necessary, finite, or infinite beings. For Leibniz, God exists as the only one necessary and infinite Monad, who is the sole causer of the infinity many determined, independent and finite Monads in the universe, all of which are contingent on God for their existence (D14)....   [tags: Monadology and Discourse on Metaphysics] 2282 words
(6.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Immanuel Kant's Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals Essays - Immanuel Kant's Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals In his publication, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant supplies his readers with a thesis that claims morality can be derived from the principle of the categorical imperative. The strongest argument to support his thesis is the difference between actions in accordance with duty and actions in accordance from duty. To setup his thesis, Kant first draws a distinction between empirical and “a priori” concepts. Empirical concepts are ideas we reach from our experiences in the world....   [tags: Kant Philosophy Metaphysics Essays] 1572 words
(4.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Utopia - The Impossibility of Perfection Essay - Utopia - The Impossibility of Perfection "The latter end of [this] commonwealth forgets the beginning." ?William Shakespeare, The Tempest From Plato's The Republic to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, the search for a perfect social state has never stopped; its ultimate goal of achieving a human society that exists in absolute harmony with all due social justice, however, has proved to be woefully elusive. The pure concept of a utopia can be theoretically visualized as a perfect geometric circle: one that is seamless, all-inclusive, yet impossible to draw out in reality....   [tags: Utopia Essays Utopian Perfect Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1675 words
(4.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Metaphysics of Performance - The Metaphysics of Performance Something extraordinary has happened to metaphysics. At the very moment when philosophy is focusing its efforts at bringing metaphysics to an ‘end,’ metaphysics finds itself flourishing in the theatre, which speaks of itself as ‘metaphysics-in-action’ and publishes treatises carrying such titles as The Act of Being: Toward a Theory of Acting. The irony of the situation appears to have been lost on postmodern philosophers. What this paper sets out to do is explore the potential consequences of the metaphysical weight that has been acquired by the theatre for the practice of philosophy....   [tags: Theatre Science Papers]
:: 3 Works Cited
2605 words
(7.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Metaphysics Essay - Metaphysics Metaphysics can be defined as an attempt to comprehend the basic characteristics of reality. It is in fact so basic that it is all inclusive, whether something is observable or not. It answers questions of what things must be like in order to exist and how to differentiate from things that seem real but are not. A common thought is that reality is defined as what we can detect from our five senses. This type of philosophy is called empiricism, which is the idea that all knowledge comes from our senses....   [tags: Philosophy Reality Empiricism Essays] 702 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Metaphysics Essay - Metaphysics      Metaphysics is the philosophical study whose object is to determine the real nature of things to determine the meaning, structure and principles of whatever is insofar as it is. ( So if the sole purpose of metaphysics is to determine the true meaning of things but everything isn't absolute what is the purpose of metaphysics.      The nature of the world can be a ever changing thing. Depending on the generation, part of the world or even when you were born into your family (ex....   [tags: essays research papers] 576 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Metaphysics Essay - Metaphysics: Since physics actually means the physical world; Meta involves the non-material world, such as the mind and spiritual brief. According to Encarta Encyclopedia, “Metaphysics,” is a branch of philosophy that entails the "nature of ultimate reality" (p.1) According to the Hummingbird N Company’s, “The Metaphysical Sciences,” the dictionary defines this as “A mental philosophy dealing with the nature and causes of being and knowing” (p.1). H. J. Patton (1948), say’s in Immanuel Kent Ground Work of the Metaphysics of Morals, “so act that your will can regard itself at the same time universal law thought its maxim” (p.34)....   [tags: essays research papers] 1104 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Metaphysics Essay - Metaphysics Whereas sciences deal with particular kinds of beings, metaphysics is concerned with beings as such. According to Aristotle, there is no such thing as mere being; to be is always to be a substance or object, a quantity, a quality, or a member of some other basic category. I. Substance and Accidents Substance is the primary mode of being according to Aristotle. The world is not one of atoms or particles, even though they have a place in the world. The basic notion of Aristotle's logic reflects a distinction in the way reality is structured and reflects the basic way that we view reality....   [tags: Papers] 1835 words
(5.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]