[Hume now re-states his own theory of personal identity, in a manner that is favourable to it. His subsequent worries and doubts start to surface only at the end of this paragraph.] If perceptions are distinct existences, they form a whole only by being connected together. But the human understanding can never discover connections among distinct existences; we only feel a connection in our mind when our thought is compelled to pass from one object to another. It follows, then, that personal identity is merely felt by our thought: this happens when our thought reflects on the sequence of past perceptions that compose a mind, and feels its the ideas of them to be inter-connected and to follow on from one another in a natural way. Extraordinary though it is, this conclusion need not surprise us. Most philosophers today seem inclined to think that personal identity arises from consciousness, and consciousness is nothing but a thought or perception directed inwards towards oneself. To that extent, this present philosophy of mine looks promising. [Now comes the trouble.] But all my hopes vanish when I come to explain the principlesc that unite our successive perceptions in our thought or consciousness. I cannot discover any satisfactory theory about this.
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