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David Hume

Geburtstag: 26. April 1711
Todesdatum: 25. August 1776

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David Hume [hju:m] war ein schottischer Philosoph, Ökonom und Historiker. Er war einer der bedeutendsten Vertreter der schottischen Aufklärung und wird der philosophischen Strömung des Empirismus bzw. des Sensualismus zugerechnet. Sein skeptisches und metaphysikfreies Philosophieren regte Immanuel Kant zu dessen Kritik der reinen Vernunft an. Mittelbar wirkte dieser Vordenker der Aufklärung auf die modernen Richtungen des Positivismus und der analytischen Philosophie. In Bezug auf seine wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Bedeutung kann er zur vorklassischen Ökonomie gezählt werden. Hume war ein enger Freund von Adam Smith und stand mit ihm in regem intellektuellem Austausch.

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Zitate David Hume

„Sie sehen also, [Jean-Jacques Rousseau] ist eine Komposition aus Launen, Affektiertheit, Boshaftigkeit, Selbstgefälligkeit und Unruhe mit einer winzigen, wenn überhaupt vorhandenen Beimischung von Wahnsinn. […] Die oben genannten, vorherrschenden Qualitäten zusammen mit Undankbarkeit, Grausamkeit und Lügerei, und der von mir nicht extra zuerwähnenden Redegewandtheit und Erfindungsgabe, formen die gesamte geistige Verfassung.“

—  David Hume
Briefe, Brief an Adam Smith vom 8. Oktober 1767, in: The Correspondence of Adam Smith, Oxford University Press 1987 [Reprint 2001]. S. 135 Übers.: Wikiquote "Thus you see, he is a Composition of Whim, Affectation, Wickedness, Vanity, and Inquietude, with a very small, if any, Ingredient of Madness. [...] The ruling Qualities abovementioned, together with Ingratitude, Ferocity, and Lying, I need not mention, Eloquence and Invention — form the whole of the Composition."

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„Himmel und Hölle setzen zwei verschiedene Arten von Menschen voraus: gute und böse; aber der größte Teil der Menschen schwankt zwischen Laster und Tugend.“

—  David Hume
Über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (1757), Über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (postum veröffentlicht 1777), ins Deutsche übersetzt von Friedrich Paulsen, Leipzig <sup>3</sup>: Meiner, 1905. S. 161 Original engl.: "Heaven and hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad. But the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue." -

„Die Vernunft ist nur ein Sklave der Affekte und soll es sein; sie darf niemals eine andere Funktion beanspruchen, als die, denselben zu dienen und zu gehorchen.“

—  David Hume
Traktat über die menschliche Natur (1739), Ein Traktat über die menschliche Natur. Buch II, Teil III, Dritter Abschnitt. Hamburg 1978. S. 153 "Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them." - unc.edu http://www.unc.edu/~jjeffrey/Hume%20Files--start%20with%20B3/B2.3.3.html

„Stärker als alle Grundsätze ist die Natur.“

—  David Hume
Eine Untersuchung in Betreff des menschlichen Verstandes (1748), Eine Untersuchung in Betreff des menschlichen Verstandes, 12, 2, 7. Absatz "Nature is always too strong for principle"

„Gewohnheit ist der große Führer im Menschenleben.“

—  David Hume
Briefe, Eine Untersuchung in Betreff des menschlichen Verstandes

„For with what confidence can I venture upon such bold enterprises, when beside those numberless infirmities peculiar to myself, I find so many which are common to human nature? Can I be sure, that in leaving all established opinions I am following truth; and by what criterion shall I distinguish her, even if fortune shou'd at last guide me on her foot-steps?“

—  David Hume, buch A Treatise of Human Nature
A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), Book 1: Of the understanding, Context: I am first affrighted and confounded with that forelorn solitude, in which I am plac'd in my philosophy, and fancy myself some strange uncouth monster, who not being able to mingle and unite in society, has been expell'd all human commerce, and left utterly abandon'd and disconsolate. Fain wou'd I run into the crowd for shelter and warmth; but cannot prevail with myself to mix with such deformity. I call upon others to join me, in order to make a company apart; but no one will hearken to me. Every one keeps at a distance, and dreads that storm, which beats upon me from every side. I have expos'd myself to the enmity of all metaphysicians, logicians, mathematicians, and even theologians; and can I wonder at the insults I must suffer? I have declar'd my disapprobation of their systems; and can I be surpriz'd, if they shou'd express a hatred of mine and of my person? When I look abroad, I foresee on every side, dispute, contradiction, anger, calumny and detraction. When I turn my eye inward, I find nothing but doubt and ignorance. All the world conspires to oppose and contradict me; tho' such is my weakness, that I feel all my opinions loosen and fall of themselves, when unsupported by the approbation of others. Every step I take is with hesitation, and every new reflection makes me dread an error and absurdity in my reasoning. For with what confidence can I venture upon such bold enterprises, when beside those numberless infirmities peculiar to myself, I find so many which are common to human nature? Can I be sure, that in leaving all established opinions I am following truth; and by what criterion shall I distinguish her, even if fortune shou'd at last guide me on her foot-steps? After the most accurate and exact of my reasonings, I can give no reason why I shou'd assent to it; and feel nothing but a strong propensity to consider objects strongly in that view, under which they appear to me. Experience is a principle, which instructs me in the several conjunctions of objects for the past. Habit is another principle, which determines me to expect the same for the future; and both of them conspiring to operate upon the imagination, make me form certain ideas in a more intense and lively manner, than others, which are not attended with the same advantages. Without this quality, by which the mind enlivens some ideas beyond others (which seemingly is so trivial, and so little founded on reason) we cou'd never assent to any argument, nor carry our view beyond those few objects, which are present to our senses. Nay, even to these objects we cou'd never attribute any existence, but what was dependent on the senses; and must comprehend them entirely in that succession of perceptions, which constitutes our self or person. Nay farther, even with relation to that succession, we cou'd only admit of those perceptions, which are immediately present to our consciousness, nor cou'd those lively images, with which the memory presents us, be ever receiv'd as true pictures of past perceptions. The memory, senses, and understanding are, therefore, all of them founded on the imagination, or the vivacity of our ideas. Part 4, Section 7

„It is, therefore, a just political maxim, that every man must be supposed a knave: Though at the same time, it appears somewhat strange, that a maxim should be true in politics, which is false in fact.“

—  David Hume, buch Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary
Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary (1741-2; 1748), Context: It is, therefore, a just political maxim, that every man must be supposed a knave: Though at the same time, it appears somewhat strange, that a maxim should be true in politics, which is false in fact. But to satisfy us on this head, we may consider, that men are generally more honest in their private than in their public capacity, and will go greater lengths to serve a party, than when their own private interest is alone concerned. Honour is a great check upon mankind: But where a considerable body of men act together, this check is, in a great measure, removed; since a man is sure to be approved of by his own party, for what promotes the common interest; and he soon learns to despise the clamours of adversaries. Part I, Essay 6: Of The Independency of Parliament; first line often paraphrased as "It is a just political maxim, that every man must be supposed a knave."

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„Heaven and Hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad; but the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.“

—  David Hume
Context: Heaven and Hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad; but the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue. -- Were one to go round the world with an intention of giving a good supper to the righteous, and a sound drubbing to the wicked, he would frequently be embarrassed in his choice, and would find that the merits and the demerits of most men and women scarcely amount to the value of either. Essay on the Immortality of the Soul

„Survey most nations and most ages. Examine the religious principles, which have, in fact, prevailed in the world. You will scarcely be persuaded, that they are any thing but sick men's dreams: Or perhaps will regard them more as the playsome whimsies of monkies in human shape, than the serious, positive, dogmatical asseverations of a being, who dignifies himself with the name of rational.“

—  David Hume, The Natural History of Religion
The Natural History of Religion (1757), Context: What a noble privilege is it of human reason to attain the knowledge of the supreme Being; and, from the visible works of nature, be enabled to infer so sublime a principle as its supreme Creator? But turn the reverse of the medal. Survey most nations and most ages. Examine the religious principles, which have, in fact, prevailed in the world. You will scarcely be persuaded, that they are any thing but sick men's dreams: Or perhaps will regard them more as the playsome whimsies of monkies in human shape, than the serious, positive, dogmatical asseverations of a being, who dignifies himself with the name of rational. Part XV - General corollary

„But such is the nature of the human mind, that it always lays hold on every mind that approaches it; and as it is wonderfully fortified by an unanimity of sentiments, so is it shocked and disturbed by any contrariety.“

—  David Hume, buch Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary
Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary (1741-2; 1748), Context: But such is the nature of the human mind, that it always lays hold on every mind that approaches it; and as it is wonderfully fortified by an unanimity of sentiments, so is it shocked and disturbed by any contrariety. Hence the eagerness, which most people discover in a dispute; and hence their impatience of opposition, even in the most speculative and indifferent opinions. Part I, Essay 8: Of Parties in General

„Nature has pointed out a mixed kind of life as most suitable to the human race, and secretly admonished them to allow none of these biases to draw too much, so as to incapacitate them for other occupations and entertainments.“

—  David Hume, buch An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748), Context: Nature has pointed out a mixed kind of life as most suitable to the human race, and secretly admonished them to allow none of these biases to draw too much, so as to incapacitate them for other occupations and entertainments. Indulge your passion for science, says she, but let your science be human, and such as may have a direct reference to action and society. Abstruse thought and profound researches I prohibit, and will severely punish, by the pensive melancholy which they introduce, by the endless uncertainty in which they involve you, and by the cold reception which your pretended discoveries shall meet with, when communicated. Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man. Section 1 : Of The Different Species of Philosophy

„Principles taken upon trust, consequences lamely deduced from them, want of coherence in the parts, and of evidence in the whole, these are every where to be met with in the systems of the most eminent philosophers, and seem to have drawn disgrace upon philosophy itself.“

—  David Hume, buch A Treatise of Human Nature
A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), Context: Nothing is more usual and more natural for those, who pretend to discover anything new to the world in philosophy and the sciences, than to insinuate the praises of their own systems, by decrying all those, which have been advanced before them. And indeed were they content with lamenting that ignorance, which we still lie under in the most important questions, that can come before the tribunal of human reason, there are few, who have an acquaintance with the sciences, that would not readily agree with them. 'Tis easy for one of judgment and learning, to perceive the weak foundation even of those systems, which have obtained the greatest credit, and have carried their pretensions highest to accurate and profound reasoning. Principles taken upon trust, consequences lamely deduced from them, want of coherence in the parts, and of evidence in the whole, these are every where to be met with in the systems of the most eminent philosophers, and seem to have drawn disgrace upon philosophy itself. Introduction

„Eloquence, when at its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection; but addressing itself entirely to the fancy or the affections, captivates the willing hearers, and subdues their understanding.“

—  David Hume, buch An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748), Context: Eloquence, when at its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection; but addressing itself entirely to the fancy or the affections, captivates the willing hearers, and subdues their understanding. Happily, this pitch it seldom attains. But what a Tully or a Demosthenes could scarcely effect over a Roman or Athenian audience, every Capuchin, every itinerant or stationary teacher can perform over the generality of mankind, and in a higher degree, by touching such gross and vulgar passions. Section 10 : Of Miracles Pt. 2

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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