A Treatise of Human Nature (Great Books in Philosophy)

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9780879757434: A Treatise of Human Nature (Great Books in Philosophy)
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"Nothing is more curiously enquired after . . . than the causes of every phenomenon. . . . [We] push on our enquiries, till we arrive at the original and ultimate principle. . . . This is our aim in all our studies and reflections."

These words sum up David Hume's plan: To discover the fundamental principles at work in the nature and extent of human knowledge, and in so doing to gain a clearer understanding of our perception, ideas (e.g. of cause and effect), impressions, beliefs, passions, virtues, and vices. Hume's piercing critique and relentless analysis make this truly one of the most influential works of the Early Modern period.

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About the Author:

DAVID HUME was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on April 26, 1711. He entered the University of Edinburgh at the age of twelve but left a few years later without having been conferred a degree. Being a lifelong skeptic, Hume was taken with the French philosophers whose work was exemplary of the movement. In 1734, he made an intellec­tual pilgrimage to La Fleche, France, the town where Descartes had been educated. Three years later, this change of scene culminated in his book titled A Treatise of Human Nature.

After returning to England in 1737, the remainder of Hume's life was spent writing on psychology, morality, and politics. During this time, his bid for appointment as professor of ethics in Edinburgh proved unsuccessful because of his views on religion. From that point on, he was to undertake short-term positions of employment with powerful and influential people in the English government. These appointments included some travel to the Continent. From 1767 to 1768 he served as undersecretary of state for the northern depart­ment. Hume then returned to Edinburgh, where he died eight years later on August 25, 1776.

David Hume's works include: A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), Treatise—Of the Understanding (1739), Of the Passions (1740), An Abstract of a Treatise of Human Nature (1740), Essays Moral and Political (1741-1742), An Enquiry Concerning Human Understand­ing (1758), An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), Political Discourses (1751), History of England (1754-1762), Four Dissertations (1757), and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (published posthumously in 1779).

Review:

`These new Oxford University Press editions have been meticulously collated from various exatant versions. Each text has an excellent introduction including an overview of Hume's thought and an account of his life and times. Even the difficult, and rarely commented-on, chapters on space and
time are elucidated. There are also useful notes on the text and glossary. These scholarly new editions are ideally adapted for a whole range of readers, from beginners to experts.'
Jane O'Grady, Catholic Herald, 4/8/00.

One of the greatest of all philosophical works, covering knowledge, imaginatio, emotion, morality and justice. Hume is down-to-earth, capable of putting other, pretentious philosophers down, but deeply sceptical even about his own reasoning. Baroness Warnock, The List, The Week
18/11/2000

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