Sympathy, we shall allow, is much fainter than our concern for ourselves, and sympathy with persons remote from us much fainter than that with persons near and contiguous; but for this very reason it is necessary for us, in our calm judgments and discourse concerning the characters of men, to neglect all these differences and render our sentiments more public and social.
-from "Why Utility Pleases"
David Hume may well be the most significant philosopher ever to write in the English language: his arguments dramatically influenced both scientific and religious thinking, and much of what he wrote-particular concerning free will, political theory, and religion-still sounds startlingly modern. Hume himself called this "incomparably the best" of all his many writings.
First published in 1751, it is an astonishing consideration of source and value of the feelings, thoughts, and actions we call "morality," and it is required reading for anyone who calls himself educated.
Scottish philosopher, historian, and essayist DAVID HUME (1711-1776) also wrote A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740) and Enquiry's Concerning Human Understanding (1748).
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