Hume's 'A Treatise of Human Nature': An Introduction

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 26, 2009 - Philosophy - 316 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

The author and the book
11
First principles
40
Causation
79
Skepticism
129
Determinism
183
Passions sympathy and other minds
190
reason and calm passions
216
Moral sense reason and moral skepticism
235
The foundations of morals
258
Bibliography and further reading
289
Index
304
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About the author (2009)

John P. Wright is Professor of Philosophy at Central Michigan University, and was Visiting Professor in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh from 2004 to 2007. He is the author of The Sceptical Realism of David Hume (1983), and co-editor of Hume and Hume Connexions (1994) and Psyche and Soma: Physicians and Metaphysicians on the Mind-Body Problem from Antiquity to Enlightenment (2000).

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