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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding [Paperback]

David Hume
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 Dec 2013
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding + An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals: A Critical Edition (Clarendon Hume Edition Series) + A Dissertation on the Passions: The Natural History of Religion (Clarendon Hume Edition Series)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (21 Dec 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1494767384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1494767389
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 18.9 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Tom Beauchamp has produced two excellent editions, which will remain the standard editions of both Enquiries for years to come. An enormous amount of research has gone into this edition... Tom Beauchamp [has given] thirty years of devotion to the writings of Hume brought to ... a splendid conclusion, ... Beauchamp has attended to "the extreme Accuracy of Style" that Hume demanded and has produced reliable texts of the two enquires, edited to the highest standards. O. M. Brack, Eighteenth-Century Scotland --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

A man in a fit of anger, is actuated in a very different manner from one who only thinks of that emotion. If you tell me, that any person is in love, I easily understand your meaning, and form a just conception of his situation; but never can mistake that conception for the real disorders and agitations of the passion. When we reflect on our past sentiments and affections, our thought is a faithful mirror, and copies its objects truly; but the colours which it employs are faint and dull, in comparison of those in which our original perceptions were clothed. It requires no nice discernment or metaphysical head to mark the distinction between them. -from "Of the Origin of Ideas" 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. This 1748 treatise is the great thinker's thinking on thinking. What can we know, and how can we be sure we really know it? Is there ever any "truth" outside of what we experience inside our own heads? Does experience lead to knowledge, or does experience in fact foil and fool our understanding of the world? Deeply empiricist and skeptical, Hume's ideas continue to be reflected in everything from modern psychology to modern science fiction. His work remains essential reading for modern armchair philosophers. Scottish philosopher, historian, and essayist DAVID HUME (1711-1776) also wrote A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740) and An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751).
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hume at his best 23 Dec 2005
David Hume was perhaps the leading light in the Empiricist movement in philosophy. Empiricism is seen in distinction from Rationalism, in that it doubts the viability of universal principles (rational or otherwise), and uses sense data as the basis of all knowledge - experience is the source of knowledge. Hume was a skeptic as well as empiricist, and had radical (for the time) atheist ideas that often got in the way of his professional advancement, but given his reliance on experience (and the kinds of experiences he had), his problem with much that was considered conventional was understandable.
Hume's major work, 'A Treatise of Human Nature', was not well received intially - according to Hume, 'it fell dead-born from the press'. Hume reworked the first part of this work in a more popular way for this text, which has become a standard, and perhaps the best introduction to Empiricism.
In a nutshell, the idea of empiricism is that experience teaches, and rules and understanding are derived from this. However, for Hume this wasn't sufficient. Just because billiard balls when striking always behave in a certain manner, or just because the sun always rose in the morning, there was no direct causal connection that could be automatically affirmed - we assume a necessary connection, but how can this be proved?
Hume's ideas impact not only metaphysics, but also epistemology and psychology. Hume develops empiricism to a point that empiricism is practically unsupportable (and it is in this regard that Kant sees this text as a very important piece, and works toward his synthesis of Empiricism and Rationalism).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five star 5 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A perfect copy, in perfect condition and a really quick turnaround much appreciated. One, two, three, four, five more words.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Bound by necessity to start with the evident, I must say that Hume's Enquiry constitutes indeed a display of philosophical genius. Definitely a far more mature work than his Treatise on Human Nature (of which the reading I nevertheless do recommend), its principal qualities are its rigor of structure, the solidity of its arguments and the eloquent style through which Hume captivates the reader in such a way that the density of content is hardly perceptible.
Yet beware, as even though the style is to be revered, in the domain of philosophy it is the quality of content that constitutes the main criterion for judging a text. Yet neither in this sphere does Hume leave anything to be desired.
The leading thread of the argumentation is Hume's conception of the process of knowledge acquisition, but all through the book you'll find passages dealing with a variety of topics, from "writing theory" to 18th century theology and ethical debates.
On the first section Hume distinguishes between two types of philosophy, the distinction of which is based more on the style that characterises each of them and to the public they are addressed to than on their content.
The sections from two to five present a concise presentation of Hume's empiricist conception of the process of learning, which owes much to Locke's views on the topic (see Locke, an Essay Concerning Human Understanding) but can be said to constitute an "improvement" on his predecessor's thought.
Sections six to nine also deal with Hume's conception of learning and human knowledge, but this part differs from the previous one (sections two to five) in that it no longer consists on an explanation of the process of acquisition of knowledge, but rather of the consequences of this process.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book was written in 1748 and I must say it certainly humbled me to realize that modern philosophical concerns are neither new nor unique. Terminology may have changed since the time when this book was written, but the underlying deliberations and contemplations remain unchanged. Hume's first 100 pages discuss the experiential foundation of knowledge. His arguments are compelling, but too enduring. The final 45 pages are superb. In these pages, Hume presents his treatises on miracles and academic skepticism and I must admit that it is one of the best discussions on practical skepticism that I have had the pleasure of reading.
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By M. John
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book looks at the weakness that we have in our abilities to understand our environment- it looks generally at human understanding. It is a very good introduction to the subject for a novice.
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