With Locke, Hume professes to regard this problem as virtually covered or answered by the fundamental psychological theorem; but the superior clearness of his reply enables us to mark with perfect precision the nature of the difficulty inherent in the attempt to regard the two as identical.
The attack made by David Hume on the causal relation led directly to the new rationalism of Kant, who argued that it was wrong to regard thought as mere analysis.
Much as he admired these writers, Hume and Robertson were still greater favourites, as well from their subject as for their style.
But the idealists are only too glad to get any excuse for denying bodily substances and causes; and, while Leibnitz supplied them with the fancied analysis of material into immaterial elements, and Hume with the reduction of bodies to assemblages of sensations, Mach adds the additional argument that bodily forces are not causes at all.
Upon the nature of the reasoning by which in mathematical science we pass from data to conclusions, Hume gives no explicit statement.
All that appears in conscious experience as primary, as arising from some unknown cause, and therefore relatively as original, Hume designates by the term impression, and claims to imply by such term no theory whatsoever as to the origin of this portion of experience.
Certainly the most able metaphysician and the most influential religious thinker of America, he must rank in theology, dialectics, mysticism and philosophy with Calvin and Fenelon, Augustine and Aquinas, Spinoza and Novalis; with Berkeley and Hume as the great English philosophers of the 18th century; and with Hamilton and Franklin as the three American thinkers of the same century of more than provincial importance.
In his logic, and especially in his epistemology, Wundt appears as a mediator between Hume and Kant, but with more leaning to the latter.
Of ideas are accepted as facts of immediate observation, as being themselves perceptions or individual elements of conscious experience, and to all appearance they are regarded by Hume as being in a sense analytical, because the formal criterion of identity is applicable to them.
His criticisms are worth more than his constructions; indeed for exactness and penetration of thought he is quite on a level with Hume and Kant.