Comparing Hume's Argument Between Liberty And Necessity

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In this essay, I will defend Hume’s argument which asserts that freedom (which he calls ‘liberty’) and determinism (which he calls ‘necessity’) are compatible. Hume’s idea of ‘necessity’ contains the assumption that the interaction between all past facts and the laws of nature bring about every fact of the future (April 20, slide 4). In an attempt to prove the existence of ‘necessity,’ Hume ultimately concludes that human actions are necessary. Hume begins this argument with the assertion that ‘necessity’ is the constant conjunction of two objects or events which are consequently interpreted by the mind based on custom. It is important to point out that Hume does not believe that we directly observe the conjunction of these two objects in nature, but rather that we infer the idea of necessary connection from one event to the other (Hume, 55). According to Hume, we are able to have this inference because of the law of human nature.…show more content…
For the sake of Hume’s argument, compatibility simply means that two claims are able to be simultaneously true. While Hume’s argument demonstrates the compatibility between ‘liberty’ and ‘necessity,’ it is important to understand that Hume is not trying to say that all actions are ‘free’ and ‘necessary,’ just some of them. With that being said, Hume begins his argument by defining how an action is ‘necessary’ and ‘free.’ He proclaims that an action is ‘necessary’ if it is conjoined to the person’s motive or character, and that an action is ‘free’ if the person chooses to do it but had the power to do otherwise if they had chosen to. If a person chooses to do an action, but had the power to do otherwise if they had chosen to, then Hume would argue that the person’s action is conjoined to their motive or character (April 20, slide 24). Therefore, by Hume’s definition, ‘liberty’ and ‘necessity’ are

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