Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/113
ENGLISH EMPIRICAL PHILOSOPHY
which are absolutely distinct, Hume says, is a difficulty which transcends the powers of my understanding.
Consciousness, in the third place, tends to regard its own states as external, objective phenomena. This is the reason for our regarding sensory qualities as objective attributes. And this is why we regard the mental impulse to pass from a sensation to an idea associated with it as due to an objective necessity. We are here guided by instinct, not by reason.—The foundation of science is belief, not knowledge. And the construction of this foundation takes place, as we have seen, by virtue of the expansive, the associative and the objectifying tendencies of consciousness.
c. Hume did not confine himself to the psychology of knowledge. He has likewise treated the psychology of the passions with the same degree of thoroughness. His exposition in many respects reminds us of Spinoza, He attaches great importance to the manner in which a passion may be combined with another passion by means of the association of the ideas of their respective objects. He asserts, furthermore, that a passion can only be inhibited by another passion, not by pure reason. Reason is the faculty of comparison and reflection and it can only affect the course of the passions indirectly.
Hume's psychology of the passions forms the basis of his ethics. In ethics he sympathizes with the school of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson.—Reason cannot furnish the basis of ethics because it establishes only relations or facts. But good and evil are qualities which are ascribed to human actions and characters according to their effect upon the feelings. The fact that we call actions and characters good which are of no benefit to us proves that the passion which forms the basis of approbation