In philosophy, ideas are usually construed as mental representational images of some object.
Ideas can also be abstract concepts that do not present as mental images. Many philosophers have considered ideas to be a fundamental ontological category of being. The capacity to create and understand the meaning of ideas is considered to be an essential and defining feature of human beings. In a popular sense, an idea arises in a reflexive, spontaneous manner, even without thinking or serious reflection, for example, when we talk about the idea of a person or a place.
Hume differs from Locke by limiting idea to the more or less vague mental reconstructions of perceptions, the perceptual process being described as an "impression." Hume shared with Locke the basic empiricist premise that it is only from life experiences (whether their own or others') that humans' knowledge of the existence of anything outside of themselves can be ultimately derived, that they shall carry on doing what they are prompted to do by their emotional drives of varying kinds. In choosing the means to those ends, they shall follow their accustomed associations of ideas.d Hume has contended and defended the notion that "reason alone is merely the 'slave of the passions'."
Ideas in History, Journal of the Nordic Society for the History of Ideas, is a bi-annual journal for intellectual history writ-large: the history of political ideas, history of science, history of art, literature and aesthetics, history of philosophy, methods in intellectual history and 'intellectual culture' – i.e., political, scientific, aesthetic and cultural-critical ideas in social and political context.
Ideas in History seeks to maintain a dialogue between past and present: what genealogies of intellectual culture provide contexts for current intellectual debates, what is the meaning of engagement with the past via intellectual-historical methods and what philosophical, political-historical, cultural and theoretical problems do scholars working in fields related to intellectual history need to be aware of?
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- René Descartes
- Charles Sanders Peirce
- David Hume