David Hume: Both Sides of the Coin

David Hume: Both Sides of the Coin

The philosophy of the Scottish philosopher David Hume wasn't just about being disagreeable. He was skeptical and doubtful on authority, and on himself too.

He could highlight flaws on both sides of the argument, his side and the opponent's side. His balanced and practical intellect made him a rare historical figure.

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The Limits of Reason and Logic

David Hume understood that the various beliefs and ideologies that sound reasonable and logical on the surface, are in fact irrational and emotionally driven deep down. 

This way he could argue about or doubt practically any belief or thought process.

At Ease with Contradictions

David Hume was completely at ease with contradictions. This way he could avoid getting into extremities. 

He used to contradict himself by providing a counter-argument against his own statements. This way, no matter how contradictory it sounded, it provided an insight into life, which itself does not follow a linear, logical path.

The Unbiased and Unselfish Spectator

David Hume argued that we can't always be selfish and self-centered as we are ultimately unable to live without other people.

If we do wrong to someone, the unbiased spectator in us (conscience), will see that, providing us feelings of guilt, or remorse.

A Living Philosophy

Normally, philosophy teaches us new ways of thinking but rarely does it provide us with ways to live.

A true human is he who doubts yet is man enough to admit his mistakes.

A living philosophy sees the world as it is, without any color of belief or ideology.

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Reason Is Subject To Passion

Humans, by nature, are rationally weak but passionately motivated. Emotions are always stronger and drive action, and reasoning is often used as an excuse for inaction.

Neuroscience is now revisiting emotions as drivers of action, reducing them to mere tools. The complexity of emotions, especially the mixed variety, runs deeper than just being catalysts for action.

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Spirituality

The term spirituality has one of two connotations: One is a classic religious one; the other is inspired by New Age Culture. Both categories embody spirituality better than cold, hard reason.

In a broad sense, both categories seem to move away from a world of science and reason.

Nihilism means "nothing." It is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy.

  • Moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist.
  • Metaphysical nihilism argues that we cannot have spiritual facts.
  • Existential nihilism is the idea that life cannot have meaning and nothing has value.

Nietzsche was not a nihilist but wrote about the dangers posed by this philosophy.

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