To Err is Human Hume Descartes and Kant

First of all, to “err” means that humans all make mistakes. Most of the time our mistakes in life are connected with our lack of knowledge. Mistakes can be either intentionally or unintentionally, it all depends on the circumstances.

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But something very important to notice is that we are all humans, and everyone makes mistakes. “To err,” can be a way to explain the different human behaviors. When people make mistakes, most of the time it teaches you alesson, so it can also be a teaching technique in your life. On the other hand, knowledge is the way of understanding and acknowledging something through experience. This happens again because of the connection to experience. We need knowledge and human error to live an authentic life, a life with purpose, values, and meaning. I can relate this topic of human error and knowledge with the three most interesting philosophers we discussed this semester: Descartes, Hume, and Kant. They all analyze and approach knowledge and error in different ways and also give facts about how to live a true and significant life.To begin with, Hume can relate to living an authentic life because he describes and thinks that all branches of knowledge mostly depend on past experiences. Belief for Hume is a feeling, and he is seeking the truth in his studies. Hume believes that it is possible for humans to know things through impressions. He says that impressions again are connected to experiences. He defines them as vivid, but he also mentions the influence from our imagination and memories. After analyzing these two concepts, we can see that impressions are stronger than ideas; making ideas the weaker of the two. He analyzes knowledge by categorizing ideas in three different ways: resemblance, contiguity-space and time relations and lastly cause and effect. Hume explains how mistakes and errors manifest themselves through thoughts. He mentions the relations of ideas through deductive reasoning. Additionally, he believes that facts come from statements about past experiences. An interesting notion at least in my opinion is how people learn from their own mistakes in the past.

Experience is a fundamental key in our life because it is the foundation of all our conclusions in our day to day life. Also, he uses cause and effect as one big example. He says that from experiences we learn thus we use cause and effectas a determinant of a certain kind of action in the present. Because of the past causes, we try to create a similar solution because of the past effect. But, something important worth highlighting is that relying on cause and effect is not always a good idea, given that to an extent, our reasoning limits us. Every situation, problem and circumstance is different; thus, they require a different reasoning process.Additionally, for Descartes doubt is something essential since he’s skeptical about sense, experiences and beliefs. But, he realizes that the only thing he can never doubt is his existence. He thinks that humans know how to use geometrical reasoning and thus uses it as his model. He also acknowledges that you must obey the laws and customs. The first way to obey the law is by having God near you and holding and staying truth to your religion and faith. He also says that he wants to be solid and decisive in his way of thinking and acting. Moreover, he believes that our bodies aremachines created by God, because he has the power to create us. This serves as proof of his conviction and devoutness to God. These are some of the ways Descartes shows how to live true and significant life. One example he shows is the metaphor of the house and the city. This explains in depth how he thinks about mistakes. He describes the house and connects it as if it was the mind, and the structure and everything else is the knowledge. He mentions that it is better to have only one master or teacher when it comes to education, as opposed to having many. He says that having many masters it is not a true path towards rightful education. He wants people to learn about his method and way of thinking, but he makes it clear that he does not want people to follow it if they think it is not the moral way of living. Descartes thinks that if a person is capable of arguing logically with reason and providing solid argumentation, then he is the one that is going to be more capable of persuading others.

Reason for Descartes is the soul andit is unique only to humans since animals have no reason. As said before, he doubts his senses, thoughts and even reasoning but, he thinks that the natural world which obviously includes also our bodies work according to natural law in an orderly fashion. But, he mentions that our soul is entirely independent of our body and it is immortal. This is how Descartes thinks about mistakes and knowledge, and how they eventually make you live an authentic life.Lastly, Kant believes in the supreme principle of morality by pure reason-prior. He thinks that for humans it is possible to know about pure reasons through freedoms. Pure reason is noumenally, which means it is completely free. In a physical world, he says, we are not free because of physics and the human laws that surround us. Knowledge for Kant relates to actions because if an action is good then it means it is made from good intentions. It shows the goodness in the moral law. What he is trying to say is that good in action is the same as good in moral law. Even though he already explained this, the law that commands the will is always duty. And this is because of the idea of the Universal Maxim. He differentiates from the others especially Hume because he says that morality does not come from experience. Kant explains mistakes and errors by the imperatives which are the command of the will. It can either be hypothetical or categorical, it all depends. The categorical is the main one when it comes to the imperative of morality. And this is the will as if a universal law or idea, human beings as ends meaning ends in itself, will as a lawgiver and lastly kingdom in ends. Furthermore, he mentions that the three can be two kinds of knowledge, one that comes from experience and the other one does not come from experience but priori. This is how Kant analyses everything and decides what makes a life significant with values and at the same time knowledge with the sequence of mistakes in life.In this essay, I explained how I could relate this topic to human error and knowledge with the three most interesting philosophers we discussed this semester: Descartes, Hume, and Kant. They all analyze and approach knowledge and error in different ways. Moreover, they also give facts about how to live a true and significant life. The importance of “to err” and its relation to knowledge to humans has been explored, with the examples of famous philosophers like Hume, Descartes, and Kant, who have tackled and analyzed what it truly means to be human.

Works Cited

  1. Class Notes (Notebook Notes)”Definition of ‘to Err Is Human’.” To Err Is Human Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary,
  2. “Knowledge.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster,
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