Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Impressions and Ideas

“It seemed very natural to think, that the Treatise of human nature required an author, and a very ingenious one too; but now we learn, that it is only a set of ideas which came together, and arranged themselves by certain associations and attractions.” [1]

Thomas Reid’s damnation of David Hume’s thesis of impressions and ideas strikes just as well against Richard Dawkins’s doctrine of memes, though I should not like to suggest thereby an equality between the latter two gentlemen: the Scotsman was ingenious; the Englishman sells books.

[1] Thomas Reid, An Enquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense, ed. D.R. Brookes (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), Ch.II, Sct.VI, p.35.


dearieme said...

The Scotsman came from a more intellectual culture - in place and time.

James Higham said...

Dawkins is a gentleman? How do you define the term, Deogolwulf?

Deogolwulf said...

True enough, Dearieme.

Yes, Mr Higham, you are right: I have not employed the word in the strict sense. We can, however, take it in the loose sense, which is implied by its appearance on the doors of public lavatories the length and breadth of this land.