Reading Hume on Human Understanding: Essays on the First Enquiry

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This companion to the study of one of the great works of Western philosophy—David Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748)—provides a general overview of the Enquiry, especially for those approaching it for the first time, and sets it in the context of Hume's philosophical work as a whole. It elucidates, analyzes, and assesses the philosophy of the Enquiry, clarifying its interpretation and discussing recent developments in Hume scholarship that are relevant to the Enquiry. The eminent contributors to this volume cover a broad range of topics: meaning, induction, skepticism, belief, personal identity, causation, freedom, miracles, probability, and religious belief.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Peter Millican's Reading Hume on Human Understanding is a comprehensive overview of the philosophy of the first Enquiry and of the secondary literature on that work... future scholars will be able to review an outstanding collection of summary descriptions of books and articles on Hume and the first Enquiry, and will be that much more quickly able to focus their research and inform their reflections. We all owe him for that...In sum, this is a very valuable book, which succeeds admirably in its aim of providing a guide to advanced study of the first Enquiry. It would be an excellent choice for a graduate seminar, and it deserves to be on every Hume scholar's reference shelf."—Hume Studies

"Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding presents in elegant essay form many of the doctrines of Book One of A Treatise of Human Nature...[Millican] has with this collection, made it easier to discern the various ways in which Hume's second thoughts on human understanding differ from his first."—Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198752110
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Millican is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Computer Studies at the University of Leeds.

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors
Abbreviations for Works by Hume
Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 The Context, Aims, and Structure of Hume's First Enquiry 27
2 Two Species of Philosophy : The Historical Significance of the First Enquiry 67
3 Empiricism about Meanings 97
4 Hume's Sceptical Doubts concerning Induction 107
5 Belief and Instinct in Hume's First Enquiry 175
6 Hume, Belief, and Personal Identity 187
7 The Idea of Necessary Connexion 211
8 David Hume: Objects and Power 231
9 Hume and Thick Connexions 259
10 Hume on Liberty and Necessity 277
11 Hume on Testimony concerning Miracles 301
12 Hume versus Price on Miracles and Prior Probabilities: Testimony and the Bayesian Calculation 335
13 Religion: The Useless Hypothesis 349
14 Of the Academical or Sceptical Philosophy 371
My Own Life 393
Abstract of the Treatise of Human Nature 399
Critical Survey of the Literature on Hume and the First Enquiry 413
Index 475
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