Illustrated Image: ID 45497563 © Agsandrew |


Perception as animal instinct is ‘as it happens’, one moment after another’ a habitual succession of association. As Hume points out, we do not perceive causality. It is the thought which constructs our human reality. Association becomes more structured and more tightly experienced, as time-space, and thus we constructed the thought of causality. This is not to say that reality is merely the idea within human cognition nor does it say that reality is arbitrary, hopelessly limited and shaped by human cognition. Historically, we have good reason to suspect the ‘something out there’, reality, beyond the control of mind as both an individual and collective term. It only that it can never grasped outside of our thought. And here is a key difference between the instinctual and thought. What we may call good instinct is well-attuned to that external reality. Thought requires internal reasoning, a process that is real, but is at a distance to any external reality, what is inescapably beyond our own thoughts. Fortunately, our mind has the ability to challenge our internal reasoning, a self-propelling skepticism, or as Bernard Williams and Derek Parfit phrase it, ‘pulling on our boot laces in an attempt to hold ourselves in mid-air’.

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Neville Buch (Pronounced Book) Ph.D. is a certified member of the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). Since 2010 he has operated a sole trade business in history consultancy. He was a Q ANZAC 100 Fellow 2014-2015 at the State Library of Queensland. Dr Buch was the PHA (Qld) e-Bulletin, the monthly state association’s electronic publication, and was a member of its Management Committee. He is the Managing Director of the Brisbane Southside History Network.

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