The Association of Ideas, and its Products

  • Norman Kemp Smith


THE imagination, in contrast to memory, is free from external control, but is none the less, Hume teaches, determined by “ universal principles, which render it, in some measure, uniform with itself in all times and places”.1 This is in conformity with Hume’s teaching2 that liberty, properly understood, is a mode of necessity. “ Nothing ”, he tells us, is “ more free than [the imagination] ”: 3 the uniting principle is in no instance an inseparable connexion. Association, like gravity, is “ a gentle force ”; 4 it can prevail only when there are no sufficient counterbalancing causes. This is, in part, due to its operating through three different principles, which act sometimes singly and sometimes in reinforcement of one another.5


Causal Relation Complex Idea Universal Principle Animal Spirit Reflective Knowledge 
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Copyright information

© Norman Kemp Smith 1941

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Kemp Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK

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