Interview with David Hume

Richard Marshall at 3:16 AM:

3:16: What made you become a philosopher?

David Hume: When I turned my eye inward, I found nothing but doubt and ignorance. Truth is, Richard, 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. 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 should at last guide me on her footsteps? After the most accurate and exact of my reasonings, I can give no reason why I should assent to it; and feel nothing but a strong propensity to consider objects strongly in that view under which they appear to me. The memory, senses, and understanding, are all of them founded on the imagination. No wonder a principle so inconstant and fallacious should lead us into errors, when implicitly followed (as it must be) in all its variations. The understanding, when it acts alone, and according to its most general principles, entirely subverts itself, and leaves not the lowest degree of evidence in any proposition either in philosophy or common life. We have no choice left, but betwixt a false reason and none at all. Should I endeavor to banish these sentiments, I feel I should be a loser in point of pleasure; and this is the origin of my philosophy.

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