Association, Madness, and the Measures of Probability in Locke and Hume

In Christopher Fox (ed.), Psychology and Literature in the Eighteenth Century. New York: AMS Press. pp. 103-28 (1987)

Authors
John Wright
Central Michigan University
Abstract
This paper argues for the importance of Chapter 33 of Book 2 of Locke's _Essay Concerning Human Understanding_ ("Of the Association of Ideas) both for Locke's own philosophy and for its subsequent reception by Hume. It is argued that in the 4th edition of the Essay of 1700, in which the chapter was added, Locke acknowledged that many beliefs, particularly in religion, are not voluntary and cannot be eradicated through reason and evidence. The author discusses the origins of the chapter in Locke's own earlier writings on madness and in discussions of Enthusiasm in religion. While recognizing association of ideas as derived through custom and habit is the source of prejudice as Locke argued, Hume went on to show how it also is the basis for what Locke himself called "the highest degree of probability", namely "constant and never-failing Experience in like cases" and our belief in “steady and regular Causes.”
Keywords association of ideas  probability in Locke and Hume  causation in Locke and Hume
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