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Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Paul Carus Student Editions) [Paperback]

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

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Book Description

Dec 1988 0812690540 978-0812690545 New edition
A superb classroom edition with a detailed introduction and extensive notes by Anthony Flew, author of Hume's Philosophy of Belief. This also includes Hume's autobiography, My Own Life; Hume's An abstract of A Treatise of Human Nature; the key passage Why a Cause is Always Necessary from Hume's Treatise; three letters by Hume, and the famous letter on Hume's death by Adam Smith.


Product details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court Publishing Co ,U.S.; New edition edition (Dec 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812690540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812690545
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.4 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,211,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Oxford Philosophical Texts

Series Editor: John Cottingham

The Oxford Philosophical Texts series consists of authoritative teaching editions of canonical texts in the history of philosophy from the ancient world down to modern times. Each volume provides a clear, well laid out text together with a comprehensive introduction by a leading specialist, giving the student detailed critical guidance on the intellectual context of the work and the structure and philosophical importance of the main arguments. Endnotes are supplied which provide further commentary on the arguments and explain unfamiliar references and terminology, and a full bibliography and index are also included.

The series aims to build up a definitive corpus of key texts in the Western philosophical tradition, which will form a reliable and enduring resource for students and teachers alike.

David Hume's aim in writing An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (1748) was to introduce his philosophy to a European culture in which many educated people read original works of philosophy. He gives an elegant and accessible presentation of strikingly original and challenging views about the limited powers of human understanding, the attractions of scepticism, the compatibility of free will and determinism, and weaknesses in the foundations of religion. Hume's philosophy was highly controversial in the eighteenth century and remains so today.

The text printed in this edition is that of the Clarendon critical edition of Hume's works. A substantial introduction by the editor explains the intellectual background to the work and surveys its main themes. The volume also includes detailed explanatory notes on the text, a glossary of terms, a full list of references, and a section of supplementary readings. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian, as well as an important figure of Western philosophy and of the Scottish Enlightenment. Tom Beauchamp is at Georgetown University, Washington. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
MR. HUME, a few months before his death, wrote the following short account of his own life; and, in a codicil to his will, desired that it might be prefixed to the next edition of his Works. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hume at his best 23 Dec 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Hume at his best 8 Feb 2006
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
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). For Hume, empirical thought requires skepticism, but leaves it unresolved as far as what one then needs to accept with regard to reason and understanding.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five star
A perfect copy, in perfect condition and a really quick turnaround much appreciated. One, two, three, four, five more words.
Published 15 months ago by Joe Walter
3.0 out of 5 stars The merely good is the enemy of the best
I enjoyed the straightforward, no-nonsense style of this famous philosopher. Good though he is, however, his vision of life is that of pure empiricism - that all real knowledge is... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Ashvajit
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to the subject for a novice
This book looks at the weakness that we have in our abilities to understand our environment- it looks generally at human understanding. Read more
Published 21 months ago by M. John
5.0 out of 5 stars A MILESTONE FOR EMPIRICISTS
The first but fundamental book published by Hume in 3 volumes (1 and 2 in 1739; 3 in 1740) dedicated to the methodical study of knowledge, passions, through experience and... Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2002 by Luciano Lupini
5.0 out of 5 stars A CLASSIC TEXT BY THE GREATEST OF THE EMPIRICISTS
This is a fair edition of the first but fundamental book published by Hume in 3 volumes (1 and 2 in 1739; 3 in 1740) dedicated to the methodical study of knowledge, passions and... Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2002 by Luciano Lupini
5.0 out of 5 stars Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
This contains " Hume's doctrine of Causality," alluded to in " Liber OS ABYSMI vel DAATH " of Aleister Crowley: the latter short essay encompasses a... Read more
Published on 14 Jun 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Final 45 Pages on Practical Skepticism Are a Must Read
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. Read more
Published on 24 Dec 1997
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