By Stuart Hampshire, D. F. Pears, P. L. Gardiner, G. J. Warnock, Philippa Foot, B. A. O. Williams, H. R. Trevor-Roper (auth.), D. F. Pears (eds.)
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Extra resources for David Hume: A Symposium
This is not a trivial objection, to be passed over or lightly brushed aside. Rather, it underlines part of a more general difficulty that is raised by Hume's entire treatment of the passions as the isolable contents of a direct introspective awareness. Even if we disregard those more subtle attitudes of mind or states of feeling which appear to elude neat labels or tidy classification, it seems clear that our ordinary loves and hates, hopes and fears, fits of anger or remorse, cannot plausibly be interpreted as mere impressions or 'inward' sensations, describable without reference to the objects towards which they are directed and in distinction from any of the forms of outward expression in which they typically manifest themselves.
But carry the mind to something farther' - love is characterised by a desire for the happiness of the person loved, hate by an opposite tendency. And he considered the , hypothesis' that such desires are necessarily comprised within the ideas of love and hatred, are 39 DAVID HUME included in their very meaning; only, however, to reject it in favour of the alternative view, more consonant with his general position, that here, once again, we have a purely contingent connexionthe desires in question are 'only conjoined with' love and hatred by 'the original constitution of the mind'.
Hunger, lust, benevolence towards friends and resentment towards enemies were of the former type, and they were considered by him to arise from 'a natural impulse or instinct which is perfectly unaccountable'. But even when regarded as applying only to the limited class of 'indirect' passions, Hume's procedure seems somewhat curious. In his account of pride, for instance, he writes most of the time as if pride were an agreeable feeling in the mind which can be picked out and named independently of its objects or alleged general 'causes'; he speaks, too, as if it were experience and observation alone which make apparent its connexion with things that please us or stand in some close relation to us.