The Great Service of Hume

We can well understand then that the nominalism of Berkeley developed into the scepticism of Hume. Hume says that the empiricistic position furnishes no a priori or valid element for thought. Hume tried to work out the full implication of Descartes’ emphasis upon the human mind as the most ultimate foundation for knowledge. He concluded that upon such a basis no knowledge is possible. We cannot help but agree with his conclusions, though not with his premise. The scepticism of Hume is the best reduction to absurdity of the position that takes its start from the human individual. We shall find that later forms of Empiricism have added to the subtlety of the general point of view but that none have added any strength to the position. Hume’s thought remains as the simplest proof that if one takes his stand upon the sense world as such there is no knowledge possible of anything. Hume’s position works out Plato’s first method to the point of obvious absurdity.

– Cornelius Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology p.105


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