1.What is the philosophical significance of the question “Does a tree falling in the forest make a sound if no one is there to hear it?” Explain.
2.Explain how Hume distinguished between “impressions” and “ideas.” Why is the distinction important to his philosophy?
3.What is the empirical criterion of meaning? Explain how it works by applying it to an example of your own choosing.
4.In your own words, characterize Hume’s position regarding personal identity and immortality.
5.First summarize, then analyze Hume’s critique of the argument from design. Do you agree with Hume? Explain
Have you ever been angry or insulted when someone pressed you for evidence? Or has anyone ever gotten angry with you for asking for evidence? Why do you suppose that is? Is it rude to ask “How do you know that?” or “Can you prove that?” when people make claims about important, or even not so important, things? Analyze this question and see if you can justify not asking for evidence. (page 282)
Who is a qualified expert in areas such as psychic phenomena, miracles, nutrition, or philosophy? What is the relationship between the reports of experts and your own experience? When the two conflict, which should you trust? Why? How do you know? (page 283)
Reflect on the claim that ideas are copies of sensations by considering these ideas: love, God, perfection, wisdom. Can you identify the precise sensations to which they correspond? (page 290)
Think about the notion of mind as contrasted to the brain and brain states. It seems clear that our behavior, moods, and even thoughts can be influenced by factors we are unaware of. These might include fatigue, hunger, the effects of medication, allergies, neurological disorders, and so on. Could we also have ideas, motives, and emotions we are aware of? That is, could we have an “unconscious mind”? (page 291)
Apply the empirical criterion of meaning to such concepts as God, love, creativity, and intelligence. What, in general, do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of this criterion? (page 298)
Where and what are “you” in the midst of some exciting experience that totally absorbs your consciousness? That is, what happens to yourself when you are not aware of it? What exactly are you aware of when you are self-conscious? A “self,” or sweaty plans, an uncomfortable desk, or a boring lecture? Discuss. (page 300)
Have you been able to take Hume’s strictest claims seriously? That is, have you seriously considered the possibility that we lack knowledge of the external world? Discuss some factors that make taking this idea seriously so difficult. Can you spot any errors in Hume’s reasoning ?(page 302)
Hume’s point here is very important. Don’t rush by it. Take a moment and try to write a purely factual description of something you believe is immoral. Do you agree with Hume that the facts are value-neutral and that all moral judgments are reports of feelings associated with certain facts? Explain why or why not. (page 308)