Hume's 'A Treatise of Human Nature'
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- Author: John P. Wright, Central Michigan University
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David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature (1739–40) presents the most important account of skepticism in the history of modern philosophy. In this lucid and thorough introduction to the work, John P. Wright examines the development of Hume's ideas in the Treatise, their relation to eighteenth-century theories of the imagination and passions, and the reception they received when Hume published the Treatise. He explains Hume's arguments concerning the inability of reason to establish the basic beliefs which underlie science and morals, as well as his arguments showing why we are nevertheless psychologically compelled to accept such beliefs. The book will be a valuable guide for those seeking to understand the nature of modern skepticism and its connection with the founding of the human sciences during the Enlightenment.Read more
- Discusses Hume's philosophy in relation to predecessors, so it provides the reader with a context within which to appreciate the subject
- Uses relevant modern examples to make otherwise abstract philosophical ideas more accessible to the reader
- Introduction discusses Hume's intellectual development and offers the introductory reader a clear sense of the nature of the intellect's life
Reviews & endorsements
"Wright’s book is a good conventional philosophical introduction: we get a helpful and clear presentation and analysis of the central philosophical arguments presented in Hume’s Treatise … The book is indeed useful for the purposes of philosophical introduction, if one wants to understand Hume in dialogue with the classical problems and authors of philosophy, and see his relevance for contemporary philosophical debates."
Philosophy in ReviewSee more reviews
"… a book that undergraduates will understand, learn much from, and enjoy reading, and it will be extremely helpful for existing undergraduate courses on the Treatise. The book is such that I hope it will be able not just to fit into current courses on Hume’s Treatise, but also help to shape future ones for the better … this is the best introduction to Hume’s Treatise available."
P. J. E. Kail, British Journal for the History of Philosophy
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- Date Published: June 2010
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9780511687549
- availability: This item is not supplied by Cambridge University Press in your region. Please contact eBooks.com for availability.
Table of Contents
1. The author and the book
2. First principles
6. Passions, sympathy, and others' minds
7. Motivation: reason and the calm passions
8. Moral sense, reason, and moral skepticism
9. The foundations of morals
Bibliography and further reading
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- Classics of Western Thought
- Problems from Hume
- Seminar in the History of Philosophy
- Senior Seminar on Hume
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