An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Oxford Philosophical Texts) Paperback – 26 Feb 1998
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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)
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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.Read more ›
With Hume, english illustration comes to a definitive expression. Through his opus, empiricism is systematized and acquires a new dimension that expands its influence on all fields of philosophy. Previous conceptions about the theory of knowledge, ethics, politics, esthetics, and the philosophy of religion, all are transformed or renovated by Hume. In spite of his critics, Hume's system dwelled with different topics of modern interest: positivism, psychology, nominalism, critical skepticism, determinism, agnosticism, moral philosophy, political economy, etc.
No serious philosopher after Hume, has been able to avoid a careful look at his system. So if you are a student or scholar of the subject matter, I highly recommend this edition of Hume's seminal work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a must read for anybody studying hume and empiricism.
In particular the section on "Of liberty and necessity" is my favorite compatibilist argument. Read more
Book is good if you are into or studying philosophical thought. Some very interesting ideas, love it.Published 20 months ago by Khadijah Manasseh
A perfect copy, in perfect condition and a really quick turnaround much appreciated. One, two, three, four, five more words.Published on 5 Jun. 2013 by Joe Walter
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 morePublished on 20 Mar. 2013 by Ashvajit
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