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A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects

A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects

Paperback Oxford Philosophical Texts (Paperback)

By (author) David Hume, Edited by David Fate Norton, Edited by Mary J. Norton


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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 744 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 236mm x 40mm | 1,120g
  • Publication date: 24 February 2000
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0198751729
  • ISBN 13: 9780198751724
  • Illustrations note: 2 line illustrations
  • Sales rank: 132,264

Product description

A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), 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 to form compelling but unconfirmable 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 detailed explanations of how we distinguish between virtue and vice and of the different kinds of virtue. Hume's Abstract of the Treatise, also included in the volume, outlines his 'chief argument' regarding our conception of, and belief in, cause and effect. The texts printed in this volume are those of the critical edition of Hume's philosophical works now being published by the Clarendon Press. The volume includes a substantial introduction explaining the aims of the Treatise as a whole and of each of its ten parts, extensive annotations, a glossary of terms, a comprehensive index, and suggestions for further reading.

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Author information

David Norton, FRSC, Macdonald Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, McGill University and Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria. He is author of David Hume: Common-Sense Moralist, Sceptical Metaphysician (1982), and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Hume (1993), and, with Mary J. Norton, an independent scholar, co-author of The Hume Library (1996).

Review quote

These new Oxford University Press editions have been meticulously collated from various exatant versions. Each text has an excellent introduction including an overview of Hume's thought and an account of his life and times. Even the difficult, and rarely commented-on, chapters on space and time are elucidated. There are also useful notes on the text and glossary. These scholarly new editions are ideally adapted for a whole range of readers, from beginners to experts. Jane O'Grady, Catholic Herald, 4/8/00. One of the greatest of all philosophical works, covering knowledge, imaginatio, emotion, morality and justice. Hume is down-to-earth, capable of putting other, pretentious philosophers down, but deeply sceptical even about his own reasoning. Baroness Warnock, The List, The Week 18/11/2000

Table of contents

PART 1: INTRODUCTORY MATERIAL ; HOW TO USE THIS BOOK ; LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ; EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION ; Hume's Early years and Education ; A Treatise of Human Nature ; The Experimental Method and the Science of Human Nature ; Book 1: Of the Understanding ; Book 1 part 1: The Elements of the Mental World ; Perceptions ; Relations ; Abstract Ideas ; Book 1 Part 2: The Ideas of Space and Time ; Book 1 Part 3: Knowledge, Probability, Belief, and Causation ; Relations Revisited ; The Relation of Causation ; Causes and Causal Reasoning ; Experience and Belief ; Belief in the Uniformity of Nature ; The Idea of Necessary Connection ; Book 1 Part 4: Forms of Scepticism ; External Objects ; Enduring Selves and Personal Identity ; The Conclusion of Book 1 ; Book 2: Of the passions ; The Productive Passions ; The Responsive Passions ; Book 2 Part 1: The Indirect Passions of Pride and Humility ; The 'very essence' of Virtue and Beauty ; Unexercised Powers ; Sympathy ; Book 2 Part 2: The Indirect Passions of Love and Hatred ; Passions and the Principles of Association ; The Compound Passions ; Passions and Relations ; Dispositions ; Book 2 part 3: The Direct Passions and the Will ; The Will and its Influences ; The Direct Passions ; Book 3: Of Morals ; Book 3 Part 1: The Source of Moral Distinctions ; The Failure of Reason ; Moral Sentiments ; Book 3 Part 2: The Artificial Virtues ; Motives and Moral Qualities ; Justice ; Additional Artificial Virtues ; Book 3 Part 3: Natural Virtues and Natural Abilities ; Natural Virtues ; Natural Abilities ; The Conclusion of Book 3 ; The Abstract and the Early Reception of the Treatise ; SUPPLEMENTARY READING ; A NOTE ON THE TEXTS OF THIS EDITION ; PART 2: THE TEXT ; ADVERTISEMENT ; INTRODUCTION ; BOOK 1: OF THE UNDERSTANDING ; PART 1: OF IDEAS, THEIR ORIGIN, COMPOSITION, CONNEXION, ABSTRACTION, ETC. ; Sect. 1: Of the origin of our ideas ; Sect. 2: Division of the subject ; Sect. 3: Of the ideas of the memory and imagination ; Sect. 4: Of the connexion of association of ideas ; Sect. 5. Of relations ; Sect. 6 Of modes and substances ; Sect. 7: Of abstract ideas ; PART 2: OF IDEAS OF SPACE AND TIME ; Sect. 1: Of the infinite divisibility of our ideas of space and time ; Sect. 2: Of the infinite divisibility of space and time ; Sect. 3. Of the other qualities of our ideas of space and time ; Sect. 4. Objections answered ; Sect. 5: The same subject continued ; Sect. 6: Of the idea of existence and of external existence ; PART 3: OF KNOWLEDGE AND PROBABILITY ; Sect. 1: Of knowledge ; Sect. 2. Of probability; and of the idea of cause and effect ; Sect. 3: Why a cause is always necessary ; Sect. 4: Of the component parts of our reasonings concerning cause and effect ; Sect. 5: Of the impressions of the senses and memory ; Section. 6: Of the inference from the impression to the idea ; Sect. 7: Of the nature of the idea or belief ; Sect. 8: Of the causes of belief ; Sect. 9: Of the effects of other relations and other habits ; Sect 10. Of the influence of belief ; Sect. 11: Of the probability of chances ; Sect. 12: Of the probability of causes ; Sect. 13: Of unphilosophical probability ; Sect. 14: Of the idea of necessary connexion ; Sect. 15: Rules by which to judge of causes and effects ; Sect. 16: Of the reason of animals ; PART 4: OF THE SCEPTICAL AND OTHER SYSTEMS OF PHILOSOPHY ; Sect. 1: Of scepticism with regard to reason ; Sect. 2: Of scepticism with regard to the senses ; Sect. 3. Of the ancient philosophy ; Sect 4. Of the modern philosophy ; Sect. 5: Of the immateriality of the soul ; Sect. 6: Of personal identity ; Sect. 7: Conclusion of this book ; BOOK 2: OF THE PASSIONS ; PART 1: OF PRIDE AND HUMILITY ; Sect. 1: Division of the subject ; Sect. 2: Of pride and humility; their objects and causes ; Sect. 3: Whence these objects and causes are derived ; Sect. 4: Of the relations of impressions and ideas ; Sect. 5: Of the influence of these relations on pride and humility ; Sect. 6: Limitations of this system ; Sect. 7: Of vice and virtue ; Sect. 8: Of beauty and deformity ; Sect. 9: Of external advantages and disadvantages ; Sect. 10: Of property and riches ; Sect. 11: Of the love of fame ; Sect. 12: Of the pride and humility of animals ; PART 2: OF LOVE AND HATRED ; Sect. 1: Of the objects and causes of love and hatred ; Sect. 2: Experiments to confirm this system ; Sect. 3: Difficulties solved ; Sect. 4: Of the love of relations ; Sect. 5: Of our esteem for the rich and powerful ; Sect 6: Of benevolence and anger ; Sect. 7: Of compassion ; Sect. 8: Of malice and envy ; Sect. 9: Of the mixture of benevolence and anger with compassion and malice ; Sect. 10. Of respect and contempt ; Sect. 11: Of the amorous passion, or love betwixt the sexes ; Sect. 12: Of the love and hatred of animals ; PART 3: OF THE WILL AND DIRECT PASSIONS ; Sect. 1: Of liberty and necessity ; Sect. 2: The same subject continued ; Sect. 3: Of the influencing motives of the will ; Sect. 4: Of the causes of the violent passions ; Sect. 5: Of the effects of custom ; Sect. Of the influence of the imagination on passions ; Sect. 7: Of contiguity and distance in space and time ; Sect. 8: The same subject continued ; Sect. 9: Of the direct passions ; Sect. 10: Of curiosity, or the love of truth ; BOOK 3: OF MORALS ; ADVERTISEMENT ; PART 1: OF VIRTUE AND VICE IN GENERAL ; Sect. 1: Moral distinctions not derived from reason ; Sect. 2: Moral distinctions derived from a moral sense ; PART 2: OF JUSTICE AND INJUSTICE ; Sect. 1: Justice, whether a natural or artificial virtue? ; Sect. 2: Of the origin of justice and property ; Sect. 3: Of the rules, which determine property ; Sect. 4: Of the transference of property by consent ; Sect. 5: Of the obligation of Hume conference flyer, Cambridge Sept 00 AP 14/10/00 ; Sect. 6: Some farther reflections concerning justice and injustice ; Sect. 7: Of the origin of government ; Sect. 8: Of the source of allegiance ; Sect. 9: Of the measures of allegiance ; Sect. 10: Of the objects of allegiance ; Sect. 11: Of the laws of nations ; Sect. 12: Of chastity and modesty ; PART 3: OF THE OTHER VIRTUES AND VICES ; Sect. 1: Of the origin of the natural virtues and vices ; Sect. 2: Of greatness of mind ; Sect. 3. Of goodness and benevolence ; Sect. 4: Of natural abilities ; Sect. 5: Some farther reflections concerning the natural virtues ; Sect. 6: Conclusion of this book ; APPENDIX ; AN ABSTRACT OF ... A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE ; PART 3 SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL ; EDITORS' ANNOTATIONS ; Annotations to the Treatise ; Annotations to the Abstract ; GLOSSARY ; REFERENCES ; INDEX