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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding:…
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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: with Hume's Abstract of A… (original 1748; edition 1993)

by David Hume (Author)

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3,270203,073 (3.94)13
'Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.'Thus ends David Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, the definitive statement of the greatest philosopher in the English language. His arguments in support of reasoning from experience, and against the 'sophistry and illusion' of religiously inspired philosophical fantasies, causedcontroversy in the eighteenth century and are strikingly relevant today, when faith and science continue to clash.The Enquiry considers the origin and processes of human thought, reaching the stark conclusion that we can have no ultimate understanding of the physical world, or indeed our own minds. In either sphere we must depend on instinctive learning from experience, recognizing our animal nature and thelimits of reason. Hume's calm and open-minded scepticism thus aims to provide a new basis for science, liberating us from the 'superstition' of false metaphysics and religion. His Enquiry remains one of the best introductions to the study of philosophy, and this edition places it in its historicaland philosophical context.… (more)
Member:ScottWood
Title:An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: with Hume's Abstract of A Treatise of Human Nature and A Letter from a Gentleman to His Friend in Edinburgh (Hackett Classics)
Authors:David Hume (Author)
Info:Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (1993), Edition: Second Edition,2, 151 pages
Collections:Your library
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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume (1748)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I am uncertain about the implications of these ideas, but Hume is convincing, presents them well. ( )
  100sheets | Jun 7, 2021 |
After his three-volume Treatise of Human Nature dropped like a rock to the bottom of the pool of British philosophic writing, Hume set out to write a briefer, more accessible version -- the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. One of the early points it makes is that most endeavors to write about the nature of thought are hopeless and nearly impossible to understand. With that disclaimer, Hume sets out to contradict himself by writing lucidly about, while candidly acknowledging the severe limits of, this topic. He uses logic to show that most human understanding falls into two categories: a very small group of innate truths deducible by logic, like every triangle has three sides, and a much larger group -- nearly everything we "know" -- which is based on reality-based observation. This latter group always has, at a fundamental level, an element of probabilistic assumption: Things customarily happened this way before, so they probably will again. Thus almost everything we (think we) know about the world is based on empirical experience, not pure logic. So . . .how did he figure this all out? ( )
  oatleyr | Aug 22, 2020 |
Worth re-reading every so often. ( )
  MccMichaelR | Jul 25, 2020 |
From the Oxford World’s Classic Summary:

David Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding is the definitive statement of the greatest philosopher in the English language. His arguments in support of reasoning from experience, and against the "sophistry and illusion"of religiously inspired philosophical fantasies, caused controversy in the eighteenth century and are strikingly relevant today, when faith and science continue to clash.
[… His Enquiry remains one of the best introductions to the study of philosophy, and his edition places it in its historical and philosophical context.


I would certainly agree that it was a good introduction to the study of philosophy. It held my attention, for the most part, on a long train ride, and it was well constructed. It’s definitely the kind of thing I’d have to read multiple times to get everything out of—and I’d need to read some commentary as well to get the full benefit—but it was very readable. And yes, there were definitely parts that sounded highly relevant to today. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Oct 1, 2018 |
I wish Hume had taken Philosophy 101, with an emphasis on Logic, from Aristotle. That thought crossed my mind many times when reading the Enquiry. Hume should have known that Aristotle have defined long before him many ideas he had difficulty expressing. He could have saved himself some trouble reinventing the wheel. The reader could have saved some time clearing away the rubble of logical inconsistencies. They rather obscure Hume’s unique insights in and contributions to the philosophy of science.

Hume aims to undermine the epistemological certainty and conceit of philosophers and theologians. In doing so, however, he unwittingly, if not inevitably, shows his own conceit. As a caution against hubris, his skepticism is very humbling and refreshing, but that is the extent of its usefulness. Whenever Hume steps outside his own skepticism, and attempts to make assertions, he falls flat on his face.

In my readings and discussions about Hume, I find a very interesting pattern: Everybody interprets Hume from his own perspective. An observer can gauge a reader’s position on the spectrum of beliefs solely based on his interpretation of Hume. For it is rather a reflection of the reader than of Hume.

(Read full review at https://nemoslibrary.com/2017/07/30/an-enquiry-concerning-human-understanding-ii...) ( )
  booksontrial | Aug 21, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hume, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Camps, VictòriaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flew, AnthonyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaja, VojtěchTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hendel, Charles WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ikere, ZaigaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Millican, Peter J. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moural, JosefTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sala-Valldaura, Josep MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Selby-Bigge, Lewis AmherstEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, AdamContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steinberg, EricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Moral philosophy, or the science of human nature, may be treated after two different manners; each of which has its peculiar merit, and may contribute to the entertainment, instruction, and reformation of mankind. The one considers man chiefly as born for action; and as influenced in his measures by taste and sentiment; pursuing one object, and avoiding another, according to the value which these objects seem to possess, and according to the light in which they present themselves. As virtue, of all objects, is allowed to be the most valuable, this species of philosophers paint her in the most amiable colours; borrowing all helps from poetry and eloquence, and treating their subject in an easy and obvious manner, and such as is best fitted to please the imagination, and engage the affections. They select the most striking observations and instances from common life; place opposite characters in a proper contrast; and alluring us into the paths of virtue by the views of glory and happiness, direct our steps in these paths by the soundest precepts and most illustrious examples. They make us feel the difference between vice and virtue; they excite and regulate our sentiments; and so they can but bend our hearts to the love of probity and true honour, they think, that they have fully attained the end of all their labours.
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If we take in our hand any volume of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance, let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
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The work generally known as An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding was first published as Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding (editorial notes at davidhume.org).
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'Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.'Thus ends David Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, the definitive statement of the greatest philosopher in the English language. His arguments in support of reasoning from experience, and against the 'sophistry and illusion' of religiously inspired philosophical fantasies, causedcontroversy in the eighteenth century and are strikingly relevant today, when faith and science continue to clash.The Enquiry considers the origin and processes of human thought, reaching the stark conclusion that we can have no ultimate understanding of the physical world, or indeed our own minds. In either sphere we must depend on instinctive learning from experience, recognizing our animal nature and thelimits of reason. Hume's calm and open-minded scepticism thus aims to provide a new basis for science, liberating us from the 'superstition' of false metaphysics and religion. His Enquiry remains one of the best introductions to the study of philosophy, and this edition places it in its historicaland philosophical context.

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Let's put to the torch
all books on metaphysics.
Just keeping it real.

(Carnophile)
Let's put to the torch
all books on metaphysics.
Just keeping it real.

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