David Hume is a philosopher, economist, essayist, and history who is known today for his radical skepticism, naturalism, and philosophical empiricism. Immanuel Kant is a philosopher who is considered a vital figure in modern philosophy. The purpose of this paper is to analyze two core questions. Explain why David Hume believes that the self does not exist. What is Kant’s reply to Hume? The two philosophers take different positions regarding self and whether or not self truly exists. Kant’s argument is a response based entirely on the model of self that Hume proposed.

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David Hume believed that the mind’s content is made up from personal experience. The impetus is made up of both internal and external factors. The connection, according to Hume is what he refers to as impressions indifference to ideas. Impressions are an individual’s active and lively perceptions. He believes that ideas are merely metaphors in one’s reason and thinking. Hume thought that there was no individual mind or self. The awareness that a person has is only active when they are conscious. When one is asleep, their perception is removed, and there is no belief that one exists. Hume’s belief that self-does not exist is lessened to cognitive and personality actions that can be turned off and on. All perceptions that one holds is obliterated when one dies. Hume continues to argue that passion is the real element of behavior. The belief appears to be that humans learn by the same method as animals, through punishment and reward. Hume bases in an argument with the idea that skepticism is a controlling principle in the position that self does not exist. There were two main principles that Hume could not give consent, nor could he deny the potential for either of them. One is that an individual’s perception is a distinct existence. The other is that the mind will never recognize a real connection between these existences. The assumption is based on an occurrence of impressions that cannot provide dependability of one’s self in which would be continual to offer a reference to one’s future incidents.

Hume’s belief that self does not exist is not based on a single impression. Several impressions and ideas consist within itself. No one reaction lasts for an individual’s whole life. People experience different sensations like pain and pleasure, and these sensations are not constant, they are considered to be an invariable. “It cannot, therefore, be from any of these impressions, or from any other, that the idea of self is derived; and consequently, there is no such idea” (Hume). Hume compares the idea of self to merely watching a play or film of one’s existence. The perceptions are unconnected from each other, and there is no connecting the elements of self to establish a long-term reference. The identity of the person is an uninterrupted and invariable actuality. He continues to argue that there is no primitive matter where all secondary realities of individual survival exist. Everything that a person knows or believes comes from mere impressions. The objects in the outer world happen as events separate from the secondary assets in mindful thought. Hume demonstrates that life is condensed to below the life of an oyster, and the article has a perception of hunger or thirst. Perception is the only thing that truly exist. Higher levels of understanding would not provide any material that could create a constant and independent self. Hume model denies any formation of self-reference and the only knowledge is in the individual’s consciousness.

Immanuel Kant
Kant has his perception of self in response to Hume position. Kant validates a belief in behavior as a universal truth. His argument sequesters religion primarily on the belief in free will and immortality. He uses the central idea to defend the diversity of soul and body. The human body is a substance of outer sense, and the soul is an article of inner sense. His position of self is based on two components, inner-self, and outer-self. People encompass two types of consciousness of their self. The first is the individual’s mental state of inner sense. The second is the knowledge of a person and their state of acting on their conscious perceptions. Kant describes the inner self as an empirical self-consciousness. The logical purpose of self takes place in the inner sense. He believes that one’s original states involve inner sense which is localized in the outer objects. The modification of any person mind fits the inner sense. Kant offers the theory that apperception is a method of consciousness to an individual’s self. The inner sense is not wholly made up of perception. It allows the person to be alert to what one is undergoing as we are moved by thought. Kant argued that there were three types of synthesis necessary to systematize information. The three combinations include reproducing in imagination, distinguishing in concepts, and capturing in intuition. The synthesis of trepidation takes one’s perceptual input, integration of a replica of reproduction, and acknowledgment concerns ideas allowing the mind to shift from one to the other.

Self-consists of important notions of experience and consciousness. There is a compound based on assumptions that subordinates all form a divine unity. Kant believes that individual consciousness must have some sort of underlying connection to be unified. In the present progressive according to Kant an individual can be mindful of themselves through an act of representing. The representation of self is not innate but more a spontaneous action of doing things or performing. An individual knows that by participating in activities that these parodies cannot be as limited as sensations that result from one’s senses. Exemplification achieves three main acts. The law instead of one making a conscious awareness of an object, the subject is oneself and itself. The consciousness of the three main items is considered the original base. There is nothing more to self-representation than simply being conscious. How one represents themselves is based on the view of self as a single joint subject. Kant argues that when one is conscious of themselves as the focus, they are aware of a universal individual subject. Kant hypothesizes senses as realistic but with the article of personal self-being one’s soul. The whole conscious perception is considered a priori. His position is that the intuitive abilities of synthesis and intuition of the inner self-use distinctive materials to bond the objects from one’s outer self. It allows one to take a cognitive process from Kant’s theology all the while conserving a primary process from our world of experience.

Kant’s argument is a response based entirely on the model of self that Hume proposed. Hume’s position on self is as if an observer is on the outside watching their life pass before their eyes. Hume believes there is no free will, as Kant takes a different position on free will. Hume believes that self is simply a concept of imagination and memory. Kant’s position manipulates date from the act of synthesis. Kant unifies consciousness, experience, representation and unifying objects into a reference to self. Both models have their strengths and flaws allowing each to form their opinion as to whether self exists or not.

  • Hume, David. “Of Personal Identity.” Treatise of Human Nature, 1789. Print.