D. Hume’s Identity Theory and I. Kant’s Response Essay

November 9, 2021 by Essay Writer


It is imperative to mention that the discussion of the human mind has led to many disagreements among thinkers, and the difference between the theories that they propose is rather significant. A prominent German philosopher did not agree with the perspective of his Scottish colleague and questioned the validity of his work. It would be reasonable to review and analyze the literature on this topic to get a better understanding of the subject matter and to ensure that the statements are reasonable. The argument is that Kant’s response to David Hume’s theory of identity is appropriate, and is an outstanding alternative to the determinist perspective.


It is necessary to note that Scottish essayist has developed a bundle theory. It suggests that the human mind is a set of particular properties, connections, and tropes. Moreover, he did not agree with the idea that it can be viewed as an independent power, and such aspects as cohesiveness should not be measured.

The philosopher states that such factors as experiences of an individual play a crucial role most of the time, and they are linked based on their resemblance to each other. He stated that one may be able to think about the self, and such thoughts can be continued. However, the statement is rather ironic and did not agree that the existence of such a principle is possible (Pitson 12). Therefore, he argued that the mind only consists of successive perceptions. The idea is quite intriguing and has challenged previous works on this subject matter.

On the other hand, some scholars believe that Hume has overlooked numerous internal and external aspects, and the theory is relatively simple. For instance, Kant’s approach consists of three primary principles. First of all, he believed that the mind should be perceived as a bundle of abilities necessary for every human being. The idea was quite revolutionary at that time but did not spread as much as it should have been. Also, he thought that all the functions are processed, and sensory input plays a crucial role.

The final concept is the synthesis, and it needs to be discussed. A thinker has described it as a process during which various representations are analyzed and combined in the brain to perform a cognitive function. He believed that the unity between these factors is crucial, and is a central reason the mind is capable of performing its job efficiently. He agreed with some of the points that Hume made, and argued that inner sense does not allow individuals to perceive the self (Guyer 242).

However, an inductive model was viewed as questionable by the philosopher, and he wanted to explain that other factors also should not be disregarded. Kant has focused on the importance of both internal and external dimensions of self. The first one consists of the human’s mental state and ability to view the information rationally. On the other hand, the second one includes human senses and the environment that surrounds them. Apperception is a term that needs to be highlighted.

The philosopher believed that previous experiences influence the way an individual perceived the new information and adapts it. The reasoning is critical in this case and has an impact on all the areas of thinking. The idea is appropriate because it is quite evident that the ability to analyze and combine available data is one of the most important functions of the human brain. It helps to make prompt decisions and is done subconsciously.

It is quite evident that Kant has acknowledged the importance of the rules of nature and has analyzed the self from this perspective. Numerical identity is another fascinating aspect, and it is nearly impossible to identify if the philosopher has focused on this concept or the idea of similar thoughts (Keller 26). Melnick suggests that Kant has argued that a person is not capable of finding an identical self because of the unique way in which it exists (125). Some of his ideas are rather hard to comprehend, and the fact that he has introduced a third type of existence complicates the situation. Nevertheless, the German philosopher made a clear statement and developed a separate theory. The biggest difference is between their views on the combination of experiences.


In summary, it is possible to state that Kant has managed to provide an outstanding response to Hume’s position, and has devoted enormous attention to details to ensure that his theory is appropriate. The idea that experiences and intuition are combined at the same time is reasonable and justified. On the other hand, the argument can be interpreted in several ways, and it is possible to identify some inconsistencies.

It is hard to argue with the fact that both of these theories are quite important because they have helped to facilitate discussions, and understanding of the human mind has improved significantly over the last few years. Overall, it is quite evident that Kant was concerned with the subject matter, and has provided a response to Hume’s comments.

Works Cited

Guyer, Paul. Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment: Critical Essays, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.

Keller, Pierre. Kant and the Demands of Self-Consciousness, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.

Melnick, Arthur. Kant’s Theory of the Self, New York, NY: Routledge, 2008. Print.

Pitson, Tony. Hume’s Philosophy of the Self, New York, NY: Routledge, 2005. Print.

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