David Hume, along with John Locke and George Berkeley, is generally credited with starting the school of philosophy known as British Empiricism (or just empiricism).

In contrast to early philosophers, particularly Rene Descartes, empiricists believe all knowledge is derived from sense data. They reject the class of ideas known as a priori (innate ideas) as pure rubbish. To a empiricist, people are born as tabula rasa, or clean slates without any knowledge. Only through the senses is information recorded, processed, and formed into new ideas.