An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Overview

Highly original and challenging in its views, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding proved controversial upon its 1748 publication, and it remains so today. In terms of influence, David Hume's theory of causality ranks as the modern equivalent of Aristotle's work on the subject. Hume's philosophy roused Immanuel Kant from his self-described "dogmatic slumber," and inspired the thinking behind the Critique of Pure Reason, which introduced a completely new school of philosophy in the form of Kantian ethics. One...
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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

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Overview

Highly original and challenging in its views, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding proved controversial upon its 1748 publication, and it remains so today. In terms of influence, David Hume's theory of causality ranks as the modern equivalent of Aristotle's work on the subject. Hume's philosophy roused Immanuel Kant from his self-described "dogmatic slumber," and inspired the thinking behind the Critique of Pure Reason, which introduced a completely new school of philosophy in the form of Kantian ethics. One of the most widely read works in philosophy and the best introduction to Hume's other works, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding asserts that causal relationships constitute the core of our understanding of relationships between objects in the external world. Hume establishes the factors that define a causal relationship between two objects and demonstrates that causal theory derives from the mind rather than experience. In so doing, he questions the basis of scientific causal theory, which claims validity by nature of its basis in experiential knowledge. Hume's assessment of the limitations of human understanding and the merits of skepticism make his Enquiry a work of enduring relevance and influence.
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Editorial Reviews

Donald C. Ainslie University of Toronto
"David Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding is a philosophical masterpiece that explores the nature of human cognition and the limits of our knowledge. This edition of the Enquiry helpfully puts the text in its historical context by presenting it alongside responses from Hume's most significant 18th-century critics: George Campbell, Thomas Reid, James Beattie, and Immanuel Kant. Lorne Falkenstein's incisive introduction and editorial comments offer readers, whether novice or expert, a sure hand as they navigate both the deceivingly straightforward text and the critics' responses."
Jacqueline Taylor University of San Francisco
"The 1758 edition of An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding was the first to be grouped together with A Dissertation on the Passions, An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, and The Natural History of Religion. This grouping well reflects Hume's ambition to recast his earlier Treatise on Human Nature, and brings into relief his explicit criticism of religion. In four appendices, Lorne Falkenstein has thoughtfully chosen selections by Hume's contemporaries who challenge Hume on the central topics of the Enquiry: perception and reasoning, causation, and miracles. Falkenstein adds helpful notes providing further historical context. This is an excellent edition for undergraduate and graduate courses, and will be a welcome new resource for scholars."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781495366680
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 1/29/2014
  • Pages: 148
  • Sales rank: 718,007
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author


David Hume (1711–1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist whose best known works include A Treatise of Human Nature, The Natural History of Religion, and The History of England.

With acting credits that span stage and screen, Gildart Jackson is most often recognized for his role as Gideon on Charmed. Other notable TV roles include Jackson Palmer on Providence and Simon Prentiss on General Hospital, and his theater roles include Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, and Adrian in Private Eyes at the Old Globe.

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Table of Contents

How to Use this Book 3
List of Abbreviations 5
Editor's introduction 7
The Text Printed in this Edition 54
Supplementary Reading 55
An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals 71
1 Of the General Principles of Morals 73
2 Of Benevolence 78
3 Of Justice 83
4 Of Political Society 99
5 Why Utility Pleases 104
6 Of Qualities Useful to Ourselves 119
7 Of Qualities Immediately Agreeable to Ourselves 131
8 Of Qualities Immediately Agreeable to Others 139
9 Conclusion 145
App. 1 Concerning Moral Sentiment 157
App. 2 Of Self-Love 164
App. 3 Some Farther Considerations with Regard to Justice 170
App. 4 Of Some Verbal Disputes 176
A Dialogue 185
Annotations to the Enquiry 203
Glossary 258
References 266
Index 275
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