Hume

Hume

Hume

Hume

Synopsis

Many recent books on Hume have concentrated only on particular issues in his philosophy and have presented at best a fragmentary picture. This study, which is intelligible to the virtual beginner in philosophy as well as being of interest to Hume scholars and to philosophers dealing with the problems he discussed, offers a more consistent, unified interpretation and emphasizes the interest and importance of Hume's views for philosophers today.

Excerpt

In this book I try to provide a comprehensive interpretation of Hume’s philosophy and to expound and discuss his central problems against the background of that general interpretation. But there are several ways in which the task had to be limited. Hume had important things to say on almost every question of human concern.

I say nothing, for example, about religion, and that is a serious omission since the topic was of life-long importance to Hume, both philosophically and, in another way, personally. Nor do I consider any of his philosophical writings about economics. of Hume’s politics I discuss only the most general features of the theory of society and government. His detailed treatment of particular passions or emotions is ignored, but I do discuss at some length the role of what he calls ‘passions’ in the production of human action, and therefore in morality. I also say nothing about his historical writings, although on the general interpretation I offer they can be seen as much more of a piece with his philosophical work than has usually been supposed. But these limitations of subject-matter were necessary in order to deal more fully with what must be regarded as the most fundamental parts of Hume’s philosophy.

In discussing those central parts I do not try to give an exhaustive treatment of Hume’s views or of the philosophical issues in question. My aim throughout is to illustrate and support the general interpretation by particular instances of its application, and thereby to show how Hume’s views on those fundamental questions are best to be understood and evaluated. If I am even partly successful I hope it will be apparent how much of what has come to be the conventional wisdom about Hume and the defects of his views is mistaken or misguided. I do not suggest that those views are ultimately defensible, or even fully coherent, but if they are not we must come to understand

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