David Hume (1711-1776) was an 18th Century Scottish Philosopher in the Enlightenment Age. This century saw political revolutions in Europe and the Americas, but in Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (1739) we experienced a highly fascinating revolution in metaphysics. Metaphysics is the study of the fundamental nature of being and while it is often confused with mysticism and religion, it is one of the most important and misunderstood branches of philosophy.
Imagine, if you will, a table. It is an object that we are all familiar with. We are familiar with its properties; a brown colour, hard sound when smacked, smooth to the touch etc. What Hume argued was that if we reduce all these properties, stripping it of its colour, the sound that it makes and its texture, we wind up with nothing. These properties are not the table itself, but just how it projects itself into reality. This controversial theory states that properties are the only thing that exist and there is no such thing as an object in itself, since it seems quite impossible to imagine an object without properties. More importantly, what does this mean for us? Perhaps, our ideas of a “self” are completely defeated when we realise that we are constituted of a series of properties and nothing underneath, since that portion is inaccessible to us through intuition or experience. If we strip away said properties, we reduce ourselves to non-existence. This is skepticism at its finest and it teaches us not to take any notion that we may encounter for granted.
Watchmen DC Comics, Mars. N.p, N.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2015