Note on Hume’s epistemology

If we leave aside his account of moral knowledge, Hume’s epistemology makes machines far better at cognition than human beings. A camera recording its inputs has impressions that never take on the faint existence of ideas, a microphone captures all sound with no filters, and various algorithms seem sufficient to relate things by resemblance and contiguity. If this is right, we can take this both as a sign of how humanizing the moral sentiments are are and how inhuman non-moral cognition is. Non-moral cognition is largely done in vain since it can never get beyond mere facts, it seeks out causes that are forever unknowable to it, and it desires a transcendental foundation it can never discover. Like Hobbes, all reasoning is mere reckoning, but unlike Hobbes there is a humanizing and refining knowledge through taste and sentiment which even discovers causal relations inside of itself.


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