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A Treatise of Human Nature (1739)

by David Hume

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,31894,612 (3.92)9
"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.… (more)

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English (7)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Pročitao cirke pola knjige za faks.
  NenadN | Sep 6, 2019 |
This book changed my life! At least, when I read it as an undergraduate, it reshaped my worldview. Hume develops a highly approachable idea of philosophical skepticism in the first part of this book. Having argued for this skepticism, however, he proceeds to develop one of the most influential philosophical systems of the enlightenment. Hume shows that, even if we have no clear knowledge of the truth or falsity of most of our ideas, we still retain certain characteristic patterns of belief (cause is an example) that we are not able to escape. Hume prepares the ground for Kant. I would recommend this book for those who feel something of the force of skepticism but who feel that they have not yet seen how far it can be taken or what (surprisingly commonsensical) implications result.

Beware: I had a friend in college who was incensed by Hume's profusion, of commas, in the strangest places. The prose style of the eighteenth century can be a challenge for the uninitiated. (But you learn fast!) ( )
  EthanRogers | Jul 12, 2019 |
This book is a technical treatise on Human Nature. It is split up into three books which is further split into parts and sections. Using reason as his guide, Hume builds up human nature and quells any ideas of a divinely inspired government and stuff like that.

His main idea is probably that Causation is not necessarily the reason for some action, though since this book is so massive I can't really sum it up now without going point to point and wasting my time.

This book was originally published back in 1737 I believe, or sometime around there so they haven't really developed spelling, and the commas are everywhere, but it doesn't really distract from the book too badly.

I would certainly read this again to catch any parts of his ideas that I might have missed. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
I read the majority of this when I was doing research for a manuscript and it involved a lot of science and contrasting it with religious psychology. Hume's guillotine (is/ought) became a pivotal point. I realized that despite having a scientific degree, I'd never had much exposure to the philosophical roots of science and so Hume got me more interested in philosophy. I really enjoyed reading this work and actually found Hume more interesting and insightful than many of the old-timers and not overly difficult to read. ( )
  Chickenman | Sep 12, 2018 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hume, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blumbergs, IlmārsIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lauzis, AldisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mossner, Ernest CampbellEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rītups, ArnisEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Selby-Bigge, L. A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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SECT. I. OF THE ORIGIN OF OUR IDEAS.
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)
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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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"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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