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Difference Between Kant and Hume

kant-humeKant vs Hume

David Hume and Immanuel Kant were two of the great thinkers that lived in the 1700s, whose definitions of the nature of science particularly psychology would leave a lasting impact.

David Hume was born in 1711 in Scotland and attended the University of Edinburg, leaving after three years to pursue philosophy. He tried to study law at his family’s wish but abandoned it after a short trial. After that he set off travelling to England and France, working on his first publishing called ‘A Treatise of Human Nature’ while at a Jesuit College in France. It was published in 1739 in London. Hume was a highly skeptical person, convincingly reducing things like matter, mind, religion and science to a matter of sense impressions and memories. He argued that the ‘mind’ is a collection of mental perceptions and that without mind there’s no free will. He never believed in cause and effect, arguing that they were not supportable.

Immanuel Kant was another great thinker born in the year 1724 in Konigsberg, Prussia (present day Kaliningrad, Russia). He was Scottish by descent and had a type of very conservative upbringing known as Pietism. He attended the University of Konigsberg and received his PhD there. He was a private teacher, paid by his students and this generally meant a poor life and bachelorhood. Initially, his interests were in science in the fields of physics, biology, geology and astronomy. In any case, Kant introduced the nebular hypothesis, stating that in the beginning swirling gases condensed into the sun and the planets, what is basically believed to be the reality today. Also, he reintroduced Lucretius’ idea of evolution of plant and animal life.

Differences in philosophical thinking

The two men’s ethics contrasted greatly. While Hume’s philosophical method is experimental and empirical, Kant stresses on the necessity of grounding morality in a priori principle. Kant bases morality on his conception of a reason that is practical in itself. Hume’s view is that reason is a ‘slave to the passions’, saying that such feelings as benevolence and generosity are proper moral motivations. Kant sees the motive of duty, a motive that Hume usually views as a fall back motive, as uniquely expressing an agent’s commitment to morality and as such conveying a special moral worth to actions. Although the two men’s ethics stand is at variance at many points, there are some important connections between the two. They shared some assumptions on morality and motivation.

1. Hume was born and raised in Scotland while Kant was born and raised in present day Russia.
2.Hume’s methods were experimental and empirical whereas Kant believed in the priori principle.
3.As for morality, Kant’s concept was of a reason that is itself practical while Hume believed that reason was just about passion.
4.Hume was highly skeptic in his philosophy while Kant’s was more open to especially scientific critiquing.

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