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

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Overview

"David Hume's 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"--Provided by publisher.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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 Review, Tamás Demeter Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
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Product Details

Meet the Author

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's Connexions (1994) and Psyche and Soma: Physicians and Metaphysicians on the Mind-Body Problem from Antiquity to Enlightenment (2000).
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Table of Contents

1 The author and the book 1

2 First principles 40

3 Causation 79

4 Skepticism 129

5 Determinism 169

6 Passions, sympathy, and other minds 190

7 Motivation: reason and calm passions 216

8 Moral sense, reason, and moral skepticism 235

9 The foundations of morals 258

Bibliography and further reading 289

Index 304

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