Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature (Routledge by Mary Midgley

By Mary Midgley

Philosophers have usually targeting the traits that make humans diversified from different species. In Beast and Man Mary Midgley, considered one of our premier intellectuals, stresses continuities. What makes humans tick? mostly, she asserts, a similar issues as animals. She tells us people are far more like different animals than we formerly allowed ourselves to think, and reminds us simply how primitive we're compared to the sophistication of many animals. A veritable vintage for our age, Beast and Man has helped swap the way in which we expect approximately ourselves and the area during which we are living.

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Extra info for Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature (Routledge Classics) (Volume 6)

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11, 149). When we finally return to the question of what constitutes a necessary connection between cause and effect, Hume argues that it is identical to the customary determination of the mind, which leads us to expect that whenever the first ball strikes the second, the second will move away. It is this feeling or expectation in the mind that constitutes the “necessary connection” between cause and effect (T. 20–25, 165–167). 32 Newton’s laws of physics presuppose causation and it is most natural to attribute causation to a principle of physical objects.

All reason can tell us is that the first ball strikes the second and the second moves away. We get the ideas of contiguity and succession: the two events occur close together in time and space, and one event follows the other. But we need the idea of a necessary connection of one event to the other in order to have an idea of causation (section 2). Hume rejects a priori arguments that a cause is always necessary (section 3). Instead, the idea of necessary connection must depend on some experience (section 4).

This letter also appears at the beginning of all of Hume’s published writings and thus is intended to support his autobiography. Despite Hume’s and Smith’s efforts to control the reputation of the “Great Infidel” and to suggest that Hume’s moderate life matched his philosophical ideals, Hume’s personal reputation plummeted in the years after his death. Smith complained that he got more criticism for his letter about Hume than for anything else he wrote. Religious critics openly doubted that a skeptic like Hume had met his death with tranquility, and there were rumors of a secret deathbed conversion.

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