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A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume

A Treatise of Human Nature (1739)

by David Hume

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At first I hated Hume because he made me depressed. But what he says is right, and Kant at least gives us a way to "make the best of a bad situation" (namely the fact that everything we see is only appearances), so looking back on Hume I appreciate his honesty. Certainly an immensely important book and an essential one to read for anyone concerned with the nature of truth. ( )
1 vote Audacity88 | Jan 21, 2013 |
You will immediately regret reading this book. It will keep you up at night -- your confidence for the first time shaken that the sun will rise in the morning. You will be disturbed to learn that your notion of self -- of a permanent personal identity -- is no more than an illusion bringing together fleeting, rapidly changing perceptions. You will find yourself questioning everything you thought you knew about knowledge, causation, the immateriality of the soul, and the foundations of morality, as the author demolishes one dogma of his time (and ours) after another. But in the end, you will be rewarded by a well-deserved feeling of superiority over all the mere mortals who have not yet braved the impenetrable eighteenth-century prose of this masterful philosophical classic. It’s brain food at its best. Now eat up! ( )
4 vote dbancrof | Dec 29, 2010 |
Despite Hume being one of my favorite philosophers, I wouldn't really recommend this tome to anyone. Partially because it's pretty (goddamn) hefty, but also because it's extremely dense. This is the sort of thing that's best read when you already know what's in it. ( )
  bluedream | Apr 12, 2010 |
For Mr. Hume, everything begins with perception. Through memory perception drives what we feel and what we can know. These in turn provide the elements for human nature, morality, society, and individual behavior. In short, epistemology is driven by impression. Reason cannot give rise to an idea. ( )
1 vote jpsnow | May 3, 2008 |
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Hume, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Selby-Bigge, L. A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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All the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call IMPRESSIONS and IDEAS.
Nothing is more usual and more natural for those, who pretend to discover anything new to the world in philosophy and the sciences, than to insinuate the praises of their own systems, by decrying all those, which have been advanced before them. (Introduction)
It is evident, that all the sciences have a relation, greater or less, to human nature: and that however wide any of them may seem to run from it, they still return back by one passage or another. Even Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and Natural Religion, are in some measure dependent on the science of MAN; since they lie under the cognizance of men, and are judged of by their powers and faculties. It is impossible to tell what changes and improvements we might make in these sciences were we thoroughly acquainted with the extent and force of human understanding, and could explain the nature of the ideas we employ, and of the operations we perform in our reasonings.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0198751729, Paperback)

The Oxford Philosophical Texts series consists of truly practical and accessible guides to major philosophical texts in the history of philosophy from the ancient world up to modern times. Each book opens with a comprehensive introduction by a leading specialist which covers the philosopher's life, work, and influence. Endnotes, a full bibliography, guides to further reading, and an index are also included. The series aims to build a definitive corpus of key texts in the Western philosophical tradition, forming a reliable and enduring resource for students and teachers alike.
David Hume's comprehensive attempt to base philosophy on a new, observationally grounded study of human nature is one of the most important texts in Western philosophy. It is also the focal point of current attempts to understand 18th-century philosophy The Treatise first explains how we form such concepts as cause and effect, external existence, and personal identity, and how we create compelling but unverifiable beliefs in the entities represented by these concepts. It then offers a novel account of the passions, explains freedom and necessity as they apply to human choices and actions, and concludes with a detailed explanation of how we distinguish between virtue and vice. The volume features Hume's own abstract of the Treatise, a substantial introduction that explains the aims of the Treatise as a whole and of each of its ten parts, a comprehensive index, and suggestions for further reading.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -0400)

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The eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher's classic work on human understanding and morals.

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