The mind, according to David Hume, is not a truth-tracking device, and according to him, we misuse it if we think it can bring us to metaphysical conclusions. To Hume, the science of the mind can describe how the mind works and why it reaches the conclusions it does, but it cannot take us beyond the confines of our own natural reason. However, in section VIII of his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume considers the issue of free will and goes so far as to claim that free will and necessity are compatible. Within the confines of Hume's definition of liberty and necessity, the two are completely compatible but outside his definitions, the theory falls apart.
[...] Hume defines liberty as power of acting or not acting, according to the determinations of the will.”(63) This means that an action counts as free (and also opens the person up for praise, blame, etc.) when the person wills it and when there are no external, constraining conditions which force the person to do anything other than what they will. A common scenario used with this definition to visualize the concept is a person chained to a wall. This person is not free because even if they willed themselves to run away they are not able to because of their chains. [...]
[...] If one was to stop looking at the wide scope and bring Hume's basic idea of governing laws of human actions down to the level of neurophysiologic brain-states and physical movements, it does seem plausible that if a person was in exactly the same brain state as he was ten minutes ago, in exactly the same surrounding conditions as he was ten minutes ago, then he would engage in exactly the same actions as he did ten minutes ago. This is plausible because, once again this is at a molecular level, there must have been reasons the person behaved the way they had and if everything were exactly the same, why would things unfold differently? [...]
[...] However, there are several issues that can be raised against Hume's argument concerning the compatibility of these two concepts and the definitions he uses to explain them. One issue often raised is with Hume's view that there are laws to human behavior is that there are always going to be exceptions. Lots of factors can intervene in human action that would produce exceptions to, and thus falsify, the proposed universal law. Although this is usually in accordance with the complaint of Hume's definition of liberty and if we were to look strictly at this complaint without bringing Hume's version of liberty into the equation yet, I believe that this can be answered sufficiently. [...]
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