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The pursuit of knowledge that is both absolute and certain has been ongoing. However, there has been a significant epistemological tradition based primarily on human experience from at least the time of Aristotle, which is not aimed towards the prospect of gaining absolute knowledge.

This tradition exemplifies the philosophy of empiricism. Empiricists say that it is irrational to aim for absolute and all-encompassing knowledge, especially since the ability to increase practical knowledge through slower but more reliable techniques is readily available.

Empiricists are satisfied with constructing a system of knowing that has a high likelihood of being true, even if absolute certainty cannot be guaranteed.

David Hume is a radical empiricist who has distinguished himself as a consistent and coherent radical empiricist throughout the history of epistemology and metaphysics.

According to him, the only true knowledge is experimental knowledge, and any concept that is not accessible through sense perception is only speculative reasoning.

Quantity and number are the only abstract objects of abstract science or demonstration, and all attempts to extend this more perfect species of knowledge beyond these confines are just sophistry and delusion.1

He asks for a book-burning campaign of any metaphysical work with ideological zeal.

He declares:

What destruction must we wreak on libraries that are convinced of these (empirical) principles? If we pick any volume: of or school metaphysics, for example, do we find any abstract reasoning incorporating quantity or number?

No. Is there any experimental reasoning about matter-of-fact and existence? No. Commit it to the flames: it can only hold sophistry and illusion.2

Hume’s notion of robust sensism as a replacement for our natural and acquired scientific, metaphysical, and socio-cultural deposits causes more problems than it answers.

It destroys all scientific and philosophical foundations. It abandons us to our haphazard, sandy subjectivism of dry empiricism.

Within the context of knowledge, David Hume’s empiricism is excellent, but a constant empirist will end up destroying the fundamental foundation of knowledge. We think more than a succession of impressions, according to humanity’s epistemological, scientific, and ontological legacy.3

To reduce them to impression bundles. It is shortsighted to reduce people to bundles of sensations, as Hume would have us believe.

The preceding serves as an introduction to our research.


Hume’s notion of empiricism contains flaws. The biggest one derives from an attempt to answer the question of how trustworthy our senses are. Our senses frequently betray us.

This is true when we see a mirage, when objects change size depending on our psychological and physiological state, when we have hallucinations, and when we experience various types of illusions.

The issue is that there is no way to tell the difference between the genuine and the unreal in such instances. Mirage, for example, is a phenomenon generated by hot air in deserts or on roadways that gives the impression of seeing something, such as water, that is not there.

The challenge now is, how do we tell the difference between a true sense experience and a false or illusory sense experience?

As a result, the famous arguments from illusion arise, casting doubt on the veracity of sense experience.


It has already been stated that David Hume took a radical stance on knowledge acquisition by claiming that knowledge can only be gained through sensory experience. He accomplished this by highlighting the flaws inherent in reason as a source of knowing.

The goal of this study is to explore David Hume’s perspective and to demonstrate that, while we all agree that humans gain knowledge through sense experience, sense experience alone cannot create or guarantee knowledge.

As Jacques Maritain pointed out, every philosophical system has some truth and communicates something about reality; nevertheless, some philosophies exaggerate their claims, which leads to issues. T

his was the case with David Hume, who got into this type of dilemma because, while knowledge can be acquired by sense experience, he overstated the position by claiming that knowledge can only be obtained through sense experience.

As a result, it is part of the purpose of this study to highlight as many of these issues as possible in order to demonstrate that, while sense experience leads to knowledge, knowledge does not end there because there are some limitations to the senses in epistemological procedure so that whatever information we receive through the senses is subjected to judgement before it is accepted.


When this work is finished, we hope that it will be significant in the sense that we will have succeeded in bringing to light some of the most important aspects of David Hume’s empiricism while also pointing out some of the problems that it contains.

The study will also be useful to students who want to pursue research on David Hume’s empiricism because it will provide them with some insight into the nature of Hume’s empiricism.

However, it is important to note that this work should not be interpreted as the sum total of Hume’s empiricism. However, we were unable to cover the references.

That appear towards the end of the task will thus suffice to guide or redirect students to where information on those topics will be acquired.

This work will be of tremendous value to those who are not doing works on David Hume’s Empiricism; to non-philosophers who may be reading for knowledge acquisition or pleasure, as the approach that will be used here and the selection of works will not be difficult to grasp.


The title of this work already indicates that it is concerned with delivering a critique of David Hume’s empiricism. However, just as in any critical study, we will not go right into the criticism; instead, we will have a guide or emphasis as to what to criticise.

Hume’s empiricism serves as a guide because, in order to criticise it, we must first provide his empiricism in order to explain what it involves. After we’ve discovered the nature of Hume’s Empiricism, we’ll know how to anchor our criticism to the challenges we’ll encounter.


The critical study method will be used in this assignment. Because the essay is about David Hume’s empiricism, the technique will be to first offer a comprehensive overview of empiricism.

Following that, we shall concentrate on Hume’s concept of subject matter empiricism. We will thus begin to criticise when we have shown these.

However, for the sake of ease, we will divide our criticism into two parts. The first part will be to offer the criticisms levelled against Hume’s empiricism by others, because we are well aware that Hume’s empiricism has been attacked over the years.

As a result, the second phase of the criticism will be our own. We shall highlight, as best we can, some of the issues that Hume’s empiricism is plagued with as a result of his radical viewpoint, and we will base our attacks on these.


Our goal here is to educate the reader on some of the literature used in this work. But, first and foremost, David Hume’s book is fundamental literature.

In his book, “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding,” edited by Eric Steinberg and published by Hacket Publishing Company, Indianapolis in 19774,

David Hume was determined to show that an inquiry, the objects of human reason will be discovered to include only ideas and facts. These are the only two categories into which any specific information can be classified.

All numerical concerns are intuitively certain and hence fall under “relations of ideas,” whereas anything discoverable from experience falls under “matters of fact.”

In another book, “David Hume and the Problem of Reason; Recovering – the Human Sciences” (published by Yale University Press in 1990),5,

John Danford explained how scepticism about the ability of reason to lead to knowledge acquisition led to Hume’s position, which was to demonstrate that when reason is cut loose or severed from experience, it can only generate irresolution and confusion.

Edward Caird demonstrates Hume’s statements regarding the passivity of the mind in knowledge acquisition through the “association of ideas” in his work, A Critical Account of Kant’s Philosophy, published by James Maclehose in 18766.

The mind is shown here as not actively dealing with given materials to come up with knowledge, but as finding certain natural relations or associative principles in the very data of sensation by virtue of which one idea calls up another and thus presents a clear picture of something to the mind.

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