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A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume

Download A Treatise of Human Nature ebook. A Treatise of Human Nature (1738–40) is a book by Scottish philosopher David Hume, considered by many to be Hume’s most important work and one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy.

The Treatise is a classic statement of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism. In the introduction Hume presents the idea of placing all science and philosophy on a novel foundation: namely, an empirical investigation into human nature. Impressed by Isaac Newton’s achievements in the physical sciences, Hume sought to introduce the same experimental method of reasoning into the study of human psychology, with the aim of discovering the “extent and force of human understanding”.

Against the philosophical rationalists, Hume argues that passion rather than reason governs human behaviour. He introduces the famous problem of induction, arguing that inductive reasoning and our beliefs regarding cause and effect cannot be justified by reason; instead, our faith in induction and causation is the result of mental habit and custom. Hume defends a sentimentalist account of morality, arguing that ethics is based on sentiment and passion rather than reason, and famously declaring that “reason is, and ought only to be the slave to the passions”. Hume also offers a skeptical theory of personal identity and a compatibilist account of free will.

Contemporary philosophers have written of Hume that “no man has influenced the history of philosophy to a deeper or more disturbing degree”,[2] and that Hume’s Treatise is “the founding document of cognitive science”[3] and the “most important philosophical work written in English.” However, the public in Britain at the time did not agree, and the Treatise was a commercial failure. Deciding that the Treatise had problems of style rather than of content, Hume reworked some of the material for more popular consumption in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) and An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), which Hume wrote is “of all my writings, historical, philosophical, or literary, incomparably the best.”

Editorial Reviews

This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare s finesse to Oscar Wilde s wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim s Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library.

A Treatise of Human Nature ebook pdf, epub, mobi, prc

About the Author

David Hume (/hjuːm/; born David Home; 7 May 1711 NS (26 April 1711 OS) – 25 August 1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism. Hume’s empiricist approach to philosophy places him with John Locke, Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes as a British Empiricist.[3] Beginning with his A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), Hume strove to create a total naturalistic science of man that examined the psychological basis of human nature. Against philosophical rationalists, Hume held that passion rather than reason governs human behaviour. Hume argued against the existence of innate ideas, positing that all human knowledge is ultimately founded solely in experience; Hume thus held that genuine knowledge must either be directly traceable to objects perceived in experience, or result from abstract reasoning about relations between ideas which are derived from experience, calling the rest “nothing but sophistry and illusion”,[4] a dichotomy later given the name Hume’s fork.

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