David Hume

David Hume

David Hume
Born 7 May NS [26 April OS] 1711
Edinburgh, Scotland,
Great Britain
Died 25 August 1776(1776-08-25) (aged 65)
Edinburgh, Scotland,
Great Britain
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Era 18th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School
Main interests
Notable ideas

David Hume (; 7 May 1711 British Empiricist.[4]

Beginning with his A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), Hume strove to create a total naturalistic "science of man" that examined the psychological basis of human nature. In opposition to the rationalists who preceded him, most notably Descartes, he concluded that desire rather than reason governed human behaviour. He also argued against the existence of innate ideas, concluding that humans have knowledge only of things they directly experience. He argued that inductive reasoning and therefore causality cannot be justified rationally. Our assumptions in favour of these result from custom and constant conjunction rather than logic. He concluded that humans have no actual conception of the self, only of a bundle of sensations associated with the self.

Hume advocated a compatibilist theory of free will that proved extremely influential on subsequent moral philosophy. He was also a sentimentalist who held that ethics are based on feelings rather than abstract moral principles, and expounded the is–ought problem. He held notoriously ambiguous views of Christianity,[5] and famously challenged the argument from design in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1777).

Immanuel Kant credited Hume with waking him up from his "dogmatic slumbers". Hume has proved extremely influential on subsequent philosophy, especially on utilitarianism, logical positivism, William James, philosophy of science, early analytic philosophy, cognitive philosophy, and other movements and thinkers. Also, the philosopher Jerry Fodor proclaimed Hume's Treatise "the founding document of cognitive science".[6] Hume engaged with contemporary intellectual luminaries such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith (who acknowledged Hume's influence on his economics and political philosophy), James Boswell, Joseph Butler, and Thomas Reid.

Contents

  • Biography 1
    • Education 1.1
    • Career 1.2
    • Religious views 1.3
    • Later years 1.4
  • Writings 2
    • Induction 2.1
    • Causation 2.2
    • The self 2.3
    • Practical reason 2.4
    • Ethics 2.5
    • Aesthetics 2.6
    • Free will, determinism, and responsibility 2.7
    • Writings on religion 2.8
      • Design argument 2.8.1
      • Problem of miracles 2.8.2
    • As historian of England 2.9
    • Political theory 2.10
    • Contributions to economic thought 2.11
  • Influence 3
  • Works 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Biography

David Home, anglicised to David Hume, son of Joseph Home of Chirnside, advocate, and Katherine Falconer, was born on 26 April 1711 (Old Style) in a tenement on the north side of the Lawnmarket in Edinburgh. He changed the spelling of his name in 1734, because the fact that his surname 'Home' was pronounced 'Hume' in Scotland was not known in England. Throughout his life Hume, who never married, spent time occasionally at his family home at Ninewells by Chirnside, Berwickshire, which had belonged to his family since the sixteenth century. His finances as a young man were very "slender". His family was not rich and, as a younger brother, he had little patrimony[7] to live on. He was therefore forced to make a living somehow.[8]

From about 1729 he began to suffer from what a doctor diagnosed as the "Disease of the Learned." Hume wrote that it started with a coldness, which he attributed to a "Laziness of Temper", that lasted about nine months. Later, however, some spots of scurvy broke out on his fingers. It was this that persuaded his physician to make his diagnosis. Hume wrote that he "went under a Course of Bitters and Anti-Hysteric Pills", taken along with a pint of claret every day. His health improved somewhat, but, in 1731, a ravenous appetite came upon him and also palpitations of the heart. After eating well for a time, he went from being "tall, lean and raw-bon'd" to being "sturdy, robust [and] healthful-like".[9]

Education

Hume attended the University of Edinburgh at the unusually early age of twelve (possibly as young as ten) at a time when fourteen was normal. At first, because of his family, he considered a career in law, but came to have, in his words, "an insurmountable aversion to everything but the pursuits of Philosophy and general Learning; and while [my family] fanceyed I was poring over Voet and Vinnius, Cicero and Virgil were the Authors which I was secretly devouring."[10] He had little respect for the professors of his time, telling a friend in 1735, "there is nothing to be learnt from a Professor, which is not to be met with in Books."[11]

Hume made a philosophical discovery that opened up to him "a new Scene of Thought," which inspired him "to throw up every other Pleasure or Business to apply entirely to it."[12] He did not recount what this "Scene" was, and commentators have offered a variety of speculations.[13] Due to this inspiration, Hume set out to spend a minimum of ten years reading and writing. He came to the verge of a mental breakdown, after which he decided to have a more active life to better continue his learning.[14]

Career

As Hume's options lay between a travelling tutorship and a stool in a merchant's office, he chose the latter. In 1734, after a few months occupied with commerce in Bristol, he went to La Flèche in Anjou, France. There he had frequent discourse with the Jesuits of the College of La Flèche.

He worked for four years on his first major work, A Treatise of Human Nature, subtitled "Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects", completing it in 1738 at the age of 28. Although many scholars today consider the Treatise to be Hume's most important work and one of the most important books in Western philosophy, the critics in Great Britain at the time did not agree, describing it as "abstract and unintelligible".[15] As he had spent most of his savings during those four years,[14] he resolved "to make a very rigid frugality supply my deficiency of fortune, to maintain unimpaired my independency, and to regard every object as contemptible except the improvements of my talents in literature".[16] Despite the disappointment, Hume later wrote, "Being naturally of a cheerful and sanguine temper, I soon recovered from the blow and prosecuted with great ardour my studies in the country."[16] There, in an attempt to make his larger work more intelligible, he published the Abstract, as a summary of the main doctrines of the Treatise, without revealing its authorship.[17] However, there has been academic speculation as to who actually wrote this book.[18]

After the publication of Essays Moral and Political in 1744, which was included in the later edition called Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, Hume applied for the Chair of Pneumatics and Moral Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. However, the position was given to William Cleghorn, after Edinburgh ministers petitioned the town council not to appoint Hume because he was seen as an atheist.[19]

An engraving of Hume from the first volume of his The History of England, 1754

During the 1745 Marquis of Annandale (1720–92), who was officially described as a "lunatic".[20] This engagement ended in disarray after about a year. However, it was then that Hume started his great historical work The History of England. This took him fifteen years and ran to over a million words. During this time he was also involved with the Canongate Theatre through his friend John Home.[21]

In this context, he associated with Lord Monboddo and other Scottish Enlightenment luminaries in Edinburgh. From 1746, Hume served for three years as secretary to Lieutenant-General James St Clair, and wrote Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding, later published as An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Often called the First Enquiry, it proved little more successful than the Treatise, perhaps because of the publishing of his short autobiography, My Own Life, which "made friends difficult for the first Enquiry".[22]

Hume's religious views were often suspect. It was necessary at one time for his friends to avert a trial against him on the charge of heresy. However, he "would not have come and could not be forced to attend if he said he was not a member of the Established Church."[23] Also, perhaps on this account, Hume failed to gain the chair of philosophy at the University of Glasgow.

In 1749 he went to live with his brother in the country, returning to Edinburgh in 1751. It was after returning there, and as he wrote in My Own Life, that, in 1752, "the Faculty of Advocates chose me their Librarian, an office from which I received little or no emolument, but which gave me the command of a large library."[24] This resource enabled him to continue historical research for The History of England. Hume's volume of Political Discourses, written in 1749 and published by Kincaid & Donaldson in 1752,[25] was the only work he considered successful on first publication.[26]

Eventually, with the publication of his six volume The History of England between 1754 and 1762, Hume achieved great literary fame as a historian. The volumes traced events from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution of 1688, and was a bestseller in its day.

Religious views

Although he wrote a great deal about religion, the question of what were Hume's personal views is a difficult one, and there has been much discussion concerning his personal religious position.[27] Contemporaries seemed to consider him to be an atheist, or at least un-Christian, and the Church of Scotland seriously considered bringing charges of infidelity against him.[28] The fact that contemporaries thought that he may have been an atheist is exemplified by a story Hume liked to tell:

The best theologian he ever met, he used to say, was the old Edinburgh fishwife who, having recognised him as Hume the atheist, refused to pull him out of the bog into which he had fallen until he declared he was a Christian and repeated the Lord's prayer.[29]

However, in works such as On Superstition and Enthusiasm, Hume specifically seems to support the standard religious views of his time and place. This still meant that he could be very critical of the Catholic Church, dismissing it with the standard Protestant accusations of superstition and idolatry,[30] as well as dismissing what his compatriots saw as uncivilised beliefs.[31] He also considered extreme Protestant sects, the members of which he called enthusiasts, to be corrupters of religion.[32] Yet he also put forward arguments that suggested that polytheism had much to commend it in preference to monotheism.[33]

It is likely that Hume was sceptical both about religious belief (at least as demanded by the religious organisations of his time) and of the complete atheism promoted by such contemporaries as Baron d'Holbach. Philosopher Paul Russell suggests that perhaps Hume's position is best characterised by the term "irreligion".[34] Professor of philosophy, David O'Connor writes that Hume’s final position was "weakly deistic", but that this "position is deeply ironic. This is because, while inclining towards a weak form of deism, he seriously doubts that we can ever find a sufficiently favourable balance of evidence to justify accepting any religious position." He adds that Hume "did not believe in the God of standard theism ... but he did not rule out all concepts of deity". Also, "ambiguity suited his purposes, and this creates difficulty in definitively pinning down his final position on religion."[35]

Later years

Tomb of David Hume in Edinburgh

From 1763 to 1765, Hume was invited to attend Lord Hertford in Paris, where he became secretary to the British embassy. While there he met and later fell out with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In 1765 he served as British Chargé d'affaires, writing "despatches to the British Secretary of State".[36] He wrote of his Paris life, "I really wish often for the plain roughness of The Poker Club of Edinburgh ... to correct and qualify so much lusciousness."[37] For a year from 1767, Hume held the appointment of Under Secretary of State for the Northern Department. In 1768 he settled in Edinburgh where he lived from 1771 until his death in 1776 at the southwest corner of St. Andrew's Square in Edinburgh's New Town, at what is now 21 Saint David Street. (A popular story, consistent with some historical evidence,[38] suggests the street was named after Hume.)

Diarist and biographer James Boswell saw Hume a few weeks before his death, which was from some form of abdominal cancer. Hume told him he sincerely believed it a "most unreasonable fancy" that there might be life after death.[39] This meeting was dramatised in semi-fictional form for the BBC by Michael Ignatieff as Dialogue in the Dark. Hume asked that his body be interred in a "simple Roman tomb." In his will he requests that it be inscribed only with his name and the year of his birth and death, "leaving it to Posterity to add the Rest."[40] It stands, as he wished it, on the southwestern slope of Calton Hill, in the Old Calton Cemetery. Adam Smith later recounted Hume's amusing speculation that he might ask Charon to allow him a few more years of life in order to see "the downfall of some of the prevailing systems of superstition." The ferryman replied, "You loitering rogue, that will not happen these many hundred years ... Get into the boat this instant".[41]

Writings

In the introduction to A Treatise of Human Nature, Hume wrote, "'Tis evident, that all the sciences have a relation, more or less, to human nature ... Even Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and Natural Religion, are in some measure dependent on the science of Man." He also wrote that the science of man is the "only solid foundation for the other sciences" and that the method for this science requires both experience and observation as the foundations of a logical argument.[42] On this aspect of Hume's thought, philosophical historian Frederick Copleston wrote: "Hume's plan is to extend to philosophy in general the methodological limitations of Newtonian physics,"[43]

Until recently, Hume was seen as a forerunner of logical positivism; a form of anti-metaphysical empiricism. According to the logical positivists, unless a statement could be verified by experience, or else was true or false by definition (i.e. either tautological or contradictory), then it was meaningless (this is a summary statement of their verification principle). Hume, on this view, was a proto-positivist, who, in his philosophical writings, attempted to demonstrate how ordinary propositions about objects, causal relations, the self, and so on, are semantically equivalent to propositions about one's experiences.[44]

Many commentators have since rejected this understanding of Humean empiricism, stressing an epistemological, rather than a semantic reading of his project.[45] According to this opposing view, Hume's empiricism consisted in the idea that it is our knowledge, and not our ability to conceive, that is restricted to what can be experienced. To be sure, Hume thought that we can form beliefs about that which extends beyond any possible experience, through the operation of faculties such as custom and the imagination, but he was sceptical about claims to knowledge on this basis.

Induction

The cornerstone of Hume's epistemology is the problem of induction. This may be the area of Hume's thought where his scepticism about human powers of reason is most pronounced.[46] Understanding the problem of induction is central to grasping Hume's philosophical system.

The problem concerns the explanation of how we are able to make inductive inferences. Inductive inference is reasoning from the observed behaviour of objects to their behaviour when unobserved. As Hume wrote, it is a question of how things behave when they go "beyond the present testimony of the senses, and the records of our memory."[47] Hume notices that we tend to believe that things behave in a regular manner; so that patterns in the behaviour of objects seem to persist into the future, and throughout the unobserved present. This persistence of regularities is sometimes called Uniformitarianism or the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature.

Hume's argument is that we cannot rationally justify the claim that nature will continue to be uniform, as justification comes in only two varieties, and both of these are inadequate. The two sorts are: demonstrative reasoning, and probable reasoning.[48] With regard to demonstrative reasoning, Hume argues that the uniformity principle cannot be demonstrated, as it is "consistent and conceivable" that nature might stop being regular.[49] Turning to probable reasoning, Hume argues that we cannot hold that nature will continue to be uniform because it has been in the past. As this is using the very sort of reasoning (induction) that is under question, it would be circular reasoning.[50] Thus no form of justification will rationally warrant our inductive inferences.

Hume's solution to this problem is to argue that, rather than reason, natural instinct explains the human practice of making inductive inferences. He asserts that "Nature, by an absolute and uncontroulable [sic] necessity has determin'd us to judge as well as to breathe and feel." Agreeing, philosopher John D. Kenyon writes: "Reason might manage to raise a doubt about the truth of a conclusion of natural inductive inference just for a moment ... but the sheer agreeableness of animal faith will protect us from excessive caution and sterile suspension of belief."[51] Some modern commentators have demurred from Hume's solution,[52] while, some, such as Kant and Karl Popper, have notably concurred with it, seeing his analysis of our epistemic predicament as a major contribution to the theory of knowledge.

Causation

The notion of causation is closely linked to the problem of induction. According to Hume, we reason inductively by associating constantly conjoined events. It is the mental act of association that is the basis of our concept of causation. There are three main interpretations of Hume's theory of causation represented in the literature: (1) the logical positivist; (2) the sceptical realist; and (3) the quasi-realist.

The logical positivist interpretation is that Hume analyses causal propositions, such as "A caused B", in terms of regularities in perception: "A causes B" is equivalent to "Whenever A-type events happen, B-type ones follow", where "whenever" refers to all possible perceptions.[53] In his Treatise of Human Nature, Hume wrote:

power and necessity ... are ... qualities of perceptions, not of objects ... felt by the soul and not perceived externally in bodies.[54]

This view is rejected by sceptical realists, who argue that Hume thought that causation amounts to more than just the regular succession of events.[45] Hume said that when two events are causally conjoined, a necessary connection underpins the conjunction:

Shall we rest contented with these two relations of contiguity and succession, as affording a complete idea of causation? By no means ... there is a necessary connexion to be taken into consideration.[55]

Philosopher Angela Coventry, on Hume's theory of causation, writes that, for Hume, "there is nothing in any particular instance of cause and effect involving external objects which suggests the idea of power or necessary connection." Also, "we are ignorant of the powers that operate between objects"[56] However, referring to the Law of Causality, Hume himself wrote, "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that something could arise without a cause."[57]

It has been argued that, while Hume did not think causation is reducible to pure regularity, he was not a fully fledged realist either. British academic philosopher Simon Blackburn calls this a quasi-realist reading.[58] On this view, talk about causal necessity is an expression of a functional change in the human mind, whereby certain events are predicted or anticipated on the basis of prior experience. The expression of causal necessity is a "projection" of the functional change onto the objects involved in the causal connection. In Hume's words, "nothing is more usual than to apply to external bodies every internal sensation which they occasion."[59]

The self

Statue of Hume by Alexander Stoddart on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh

According to the standard interpretation of Hume on personal identity, he was a bundle theorist, who held that the self is nothing but a bundle of experiences ("perceptions") linked by the relations of causation and resemblance; or, more accurately, that the empirically warranted idea of the self is just the idea of such a bundle. This view is forwarded by, for example, positivist interpreters, who saw Hume as suggesting that terms such as "self", "person", or "mind" referred to collections of "sense-contents".[60] A modern-day version of the bundle theory of the mind has been advanced by Derek Parfit in his Reasons and Persons[61]

However, some philosophers have criticised Hume's bundle-theory interpretation of personal identity. They argue that distinct selves can have perceptions that stand in relations of similarity and causality with one another. Thus perceptions must already come parcelled into distinct "bundles" before they can be associated according to the relations of similarity and causality. In other words, the mind must already possess a unity that cannot be generated, or constituted, by these relations alone. Since the bundle-theory interpretation portrays Hume as answering an ontological question, philosophers who see Hume as not very concerned with such questions have queried whether the view is really Hume's,[62] or "only a decoy".[63] Instead, it is suggested that Hume might have been answering an epistemological question about the causal origin of our concept of the self. In the Appendix to the Treatise, Hume declares himself dissatisfied with his account of personal identity in Book 1 of the Treatise. Commentators agree that he found new problem when he reviewed the section on personal identity, but "he wasn’t forthcoming about its nature in the Appendix, and the question of why he is dissatisfied has received a number of different answers."[64] One interpretation of Hume's view of the self has been argued for by philosopher and psychologist James Giles.[65] According to his view, Hume is not arguing for a bundle theory, which is a form of reductionism, but rather for an eliminative view of the self. That is, rather than reducing the self to a bundle of perceptions, Hume is rejecting the idea of the self altogether. On this interpretation, Hume is proposing a 'No-Self Theory' and thus has much in common with Buddhist thought.[66] On this point, professor of Psychology Alison Gopnik has argued that Hume was in a position to learn about Buddhist thought during his time in France in the 1730s.[67]

Practical reason

Hume's anti-rationalism informed much of his theory of belief and knowledge, in his treatment of the notions of induction, causation, and the external world. But it was not confined to this sphere, and also permeated his theories of motivation, action, and morality. In a famous sentence in the Treatise, Hume circumscribes reason's role in the production of action:

Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.[68]

Hume's anti-rationalism has been very influential, and defended in contemporary philosophy of action by neo-Humeans such as Michael Smith[69] and Simon Blackburn.[70] The major opponents of the Humean view are cognitivists such as John McDowell, concerned with what it is to act for a reason,[71] and Kantians, such as Christine Korsgaard.[72]

Ethics

Hume's writings on ethics began in the Treatise, and were refined in his An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals in 1751.[73] His views on human motivation and action formed the cornerstone of his ethical theory: he conceived moral or ethical sentiments to be intrinsically motivating, or the providers of reasons for action. Given that one cannot be motivated by reason alone, requiring the input of the passions, Hume argued that reason cannot be behind morality. As he wrote:

Morals excite passions, and produce or prevent actions. Reason itself is utterly impotent in this particular. The rules of morality, therefore, are not conclusions of our reason.[74]

Hume's sentimentalism about morality was shared by his close friend Adam Smith,[75] and Hume and Smith were mutually influenced by the moral reflections of their older contemporary Francis Hutcheson.[76] Hume's argument that morals cannot have a rational basis "would have been enough to earn him a place in the history of ethics."[77]

Hume also put forward the is–ought problem, later called Hume's Law,[77] denying the possibility of logically deriving what ought to be from what is. He wrote in the Treatise that in every system of morality he has read, the author begins with stating facts about the world, but then suddenly is always referring to what ought to be the case. Hume demands that a reason should be given, for inferring from what is the case, what ought to be the case, because it "seems inconceivable" that the latter kinds of proposition can be “a deduction” from the former, “which are entirely different from it.”[78]

Hume's theory of ethics has been influential in modern day meta-ethical theory, helping to inspire various forms of emotivism,[79][80] error theory[81] and ethical expressivism and non-cognitivism,[82] as well as Allan Gibbard's general theory of moral judgment and judgments of rationality.[83]

Aesthetics

Hume's ideas about aesthetics and the theory of art are spread throughout his works, but are particularly connected with his ethical writings, and also the essays Of the Standard of Taste and Of Tragedy. His views are rooted in the work of Joseph Addison and Francis Hutcheson.[84] In the Treatise he wrote of the connection between beauty and deformity and vice and virtue,[85] and his later writings on this subject continue to draw parallels of beauty and deformity in art, with conduct and character.[86]

In Of the Standard of Taste , Hume argues that no rules can be drawn up about what is a tasteful object. However, a reliable critic of taste can be recognised as having delicacy in sensibility, having sufficient practice in the particular art, having experience in making comparisons between objects, being unprejudiced, and possessing good sense.[87]

Of Tragedy, is where Hume considered why we enjoy tragic drama. He was concerned with why spectators find pleasure in the sorrow and anxiety depicted in a tragedy. He decided that this was because the spectator is aware that he is witnessing a dramatic performance. There is pleasure in realizing that the terrible events that are being shown are actually fiction.[88]

Furthermore, Hume laid down rules for educating people in taste and correct conduct, and his writings in this area have been very influential on English and Anglo-Saxon aesthetics.[89]

Free will, determinism, and responsibility

Hume, along with Thomas Hobbes, is cited as a classical compatibilist about the notions of freedom and determinism.[90] The thesis of compatibilism seeks to reconcile human freedom with the mechanist belief that human beings are part of a deterministic universe, whose happenings are governed by physical laws. Hume, to this end, was influenced greatly by the scientific revolution and by in particular Sir Isaac Newton.[91] Hume argued that the dispute about the compatibility of freedom and determinism has been kept afloat by ambiguous terminology. He wrote: "From this circumstance alone, that a controversy has been long kept on foot ... we may presume that there is some ambiguity in the expression."[92]

Hume defines the concept of "necessity" as "the uniformity, observable in the operations of nature; where similar objects are constantly conjoined together",[93] and he describes "liberty" as "a power of acting or not acting, according to the determinations of the will".[94] He then argues that, according to these definitions, not only are the two compatible, but liberty requires necessity. For if our actions were not necessitated in the above sense, they would "have so little in connexion with motives, inclinations and circumstances, that one does not follow with a certain degree of uniformity from the other." But if our actions are not thus connected to the will, then our actions can never be free: they would be matters of "chance; which is universally allowed not to exist."[94]

Moreover, Hume goes on to argue that in order to be held morally responsible, it is required that our behaviour be caused or necessitated, for, as he wrote:

Actions are, by their very nature, temporary and perishing; and where they proceed not from some cause in the character and disposition of the person who performed them, they can neither redound to his honour, if good; nor infamy, if evil.[95]

Hume describes the link between causality and our capacity to rationally make a decision from this an inference of the mind. Human beings assess a situation based upon certain predetermined events and from that form a choice. Hume believes that this choice is made spontaneously. Hume calls this form of decision making the liberty of spontaneity.

Education writer Richard Wright considers that Hume's position rejects a famous moral puzzle attributed to French philosopher Jean Buridan. The puzzle describes a donkey that is hungry. This donkey has on both sides of him separate bales of hay, which are of equal distances from him. The problem concerns which bale the donkey chooses. Buridan was said to believe that the donkey would die, because he has no autonomy. The donkey is incapable of forming a rational decision as there is no motive to choose one bale of hay over the other. However, human beings are different, because a human who is placed in a position where he is forced to choose one loaf of bread over another will make a decision to take one in lieu of the other. For Buridan, humans have the capacity of autonomy, and he recognises the choice that is ultimately made will be based on chance, as both loaves of bread are exactly the same. However, Wright says that Hume completely rejects this notion, arguing that a human will spontaneously act in such a situation because he is faced with impending death if he fails to do so. Such a decision is not made on the basis of chance, but rather on necessity and spontaneity, given the prior predetermined events leading up to the predicament.[91]

Hume's argument has inspired modern day commentators such as R. E. Hobart, a pseudonym of philosopher Dickinson S. Miller.[96] However, philosopher P. F. Strawson argued that the issue of whether or not we hold one another morally responsible does not ultimately depend on the truth or falsity of a metaphysical thesis such as determinism. This is because our so holding one another is a non-rational human sentiment that is not predicated on such theses.[97]

Writings on religion

Hume "wrote forcefully and incisively on almost every central question in the philosophy of religion." His "various writings concerning problems of religion are among the most important and influential contributions on this topic."[98] His writings in this field cover the philosophy, psychology, history, and anthropology of religious thought. All of these aspects were discussed in Hume's 1757 dissertation, The Natural History of Religion. Here he argued that the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all derive from earlier polytheistic religions. He also suggested that all religious belief "traces, in the end, to dread of the unknown."[99] Hume had also written on religious subjects in the first Enquiry, as well as later in and the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Design argument

One of the traditional topics of natural theology is that of the existence of God, and one of the a posteriori arguments for this is the argument from design or the teleological argument. Encyclopaedia Britannica states that this is "the most popular, because the most accessible, of the theistic arguments ... which identifies evidences of design in nature, inferring from them a divine designer ... The fact that the universe as a whole is a coherent and efficiently functioning system likewise, in this view, indicates a divine intelligence behind it."[100]

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle all produced teleological arguments, and similar design arguments for the existence of God were expressed by St. Paul and many others in the Greco-Roman world, who believed that the existence of God is evident from the appearances of nature. St Paul wrote, "Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made". The argument was also put forward by medieval Christian thinkers as well as by later writers such as Robert Boyle, John Ray, Samuel Clarke, and William Derham. English clergyman William Paley, in the 19th century, produced a popular argument in his watchmaker analogy. Such writers asked questions like: Is not the eye as manifestly designed for seeing, and the ear for hearing, as a pen for writing or a clock for telling the time; and does not such design imply a designer?

In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume wrote that the design argument seems to depend upon our experience, and its proponents "always suppose the universe, an effect quite singular and unparalleled, to be the proof of a Deity, a cause no less singular and unparalleled." In this connection, L. E. Loeb notes that "we observe neither God nor other universes, and hence no conjunction involving them. There is no observed conjunction to ground an inference either to extended objects or to God, as unobserved causes."[101]

Hume also criticised the argument in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779). In this, he suggested that, even if the world is a more or less smoothly functioning system, this may only be a result of the "chance permutations of particles falling into a temporary or permanent self-sustaining order, which thus has the appearance of design."[100]

A century later, the idea of order without design was rendered more plausible by Charles Darwin's discovery that the adaptations of the forms of life are a result of the natural selection of inherited characteristics.[100] Philosophy lecturer James D. Madden writes, "Suffice it to say that Hume, rivaled only by Darwin, has done the most to undermine in principle our confidence in arguments from design among all figures in the Western intellectual tradition."[102]

Finally, Hume discussed a version of the anthropic principle. "According to the anthropic principle, we are entitled to infer facts about the universe and its laws from the undisputed fact that we (we anthropoi, we human beings) are here to do the inferring and observing." Hume has his sceptical mouthpiece Philo suggest that there may have been multiple universes, produced by an incompetent designer that he called a "stupid mechanic". In his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Hume wrote:

Many worlds might have been botched and bungled throughout an eternity, ere this system was struck out: Much labour lost: Many fruitless trials made: And a slow, but continued improvement carried on during infinite ages of world-making.[103]

American philosopher Daniel Dennett has suggested that this mechanical explanation of teleology, although "obviously ... an amusing philosophical fantasy", anticipated the notion of natural selection. Dennett wrote that Hume's writing about the possibility of "continued improvement carried on during infinite ages of world-making", with "many fruitless trials made", was like "any Darwinian selection algorithm."[104]

Problem of miracles

In his discussion of miracles, in An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (Section 10), Hume defines a miracle as "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent." Given that Hume argued that it is impossible to deduce the existence of a Deity from the existence of the world, for he said that causes cannot be determined from effects, miracles, including prophecy, are the only possible support he would conceivably allow for theistic religions.

Hume discusses everyday belief as often resulting from probability. We believe an event that has occurred often as being likely to occur again, but we also take into account those instances where the event did not occur. Hume wrote:

In all cases where there are opposing experiments, we must balance them against one another and subtract the smaller number from the greater in order to know the exact force of the superior evidence.[105]

In the context of miracles, Hume discusses the testimony of those reporting them. He wrote that testimony might be doubted even from some great authority: "The incredibility of a fact ... might invalidate even that great an authority." Also, "The value of this testimony as evidence will be greater or less in proportion as the fact that is attested to is less or more unusual."[105]

Although Hume leaves open the possibility for miracles to occur and be reported, he offers various arguments against this ever having happened in history:[106] He points out that people often lie, and they have good reasons to lie about miracles occurring either because they believe they are doing so for the benefit of their religion or because of the fame that results. Furthermore, people by nature enjoy relating miracles they have heard without caring for their veracity and thus miracles are easily transmitted even where false. Also, Hume notes that miracles seem to occur mostly in "ignorant" and "barbarous" nations and times, and the reason they do not occur in the "civilized" societies is such societies are not awed by what they know to be natural events. Finally, the miracles of each religion argue against all other religions and their miracles, and so even if a proportion of all reported miracles across the world fit Hume's requirement for belief, the miracles of each religion make the other less likely.

Indeed, Hume was extremely pleased with his argument against miracles in his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding; as he stated: “I flatter myself, that I have discovered an argument of a like nature, which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, will be useful as long as the world endures.” Thus Hume's argument against miracles had a more abstract basis founded upon the scrutiny, not just primarily of miracles, but of all forms of belief systems. It is a common sense notion of veracity based upon epistemological evidence, and founded on a principle of rationality, proportionality and reasonability, greatly analogous to the evidence used in a Civil Court.

The criterion for assessing a belief system for Hume is based on the balance of probability as to whether something is more likely than not to have occurred. Since the weight of empirical experience contradicts the notion for the existence of miracles, such accounts should be treated with scepticism. Further, the myriad of accounts of miracles contradict one another, as some people who receive miracles will aim to prove the authority of Jesus, whereas others will aim to prove the authority of Muhammad or some other religious prophet or deity. These various differing accounts weaken the overall evidential power of miracles.[107]

Despite all this, Hume observes that belief in miracles is popular, and that "The gazing populace receive greedily, without examination, whatever soothes superstition and promotes wonder."[108]

Critics have argued that Hume's position assumes the character of miracles and natural laws prior to any specific examination of miracle claims, and thus it amounts to a subtle form of begging the question. They have also noted that it requires an appeal to inductive inference, as none have observed every part of nature nor examined every possible miracle claim, for instance those in the future. This, in Hume's philosophy was especially problematic.[109]

Hume's main argument concerning miracles is that miracles by definition are singular events that differ from the established laws of nature. Such natural laws are codified as a result of past experiences. Therefore a miracle is a violation of all prior experience and thus incapable on this basis of reasonable belief. However, the probability that something has occurred in contradiction of all past experience should always be judged to be less than the probability that either ones senses have deceived one, or the person recounting the miraculous occurrence is lying or mistaken. Hume would say, all of which he had past experience of. For Hume, this refusal to grant credence does not guarantee correctness. He offers the example of an Indian Prince, who, having grown up in a hot country, refuses to believe that water has frozen. By Hume's lights, this refusal is not wrong and the Prince "reasoned soundly"; it is presumably only when he has had extensive experience of the freezing of water that he has warrant to believe that the event could occur.[110]

So for Hume, either the miraculous event will become a recurrent event or else it will never be rational to believe it occurred. The connection to religious belief is left explained throughout, except for the close of his discussion where Hume notes the reliance of Christianity upon testimony of miraculous occurrences. He makes an ironic remark that anyone who "is moved by faith to assent" to revealed testimony "is aware of a continued miracle in his own person, which subverts all principles of his understanding, and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience."[111][112]

As historian of England

David Hume by Allan Ramsay, 1766

In 1754 to 1762 Hume published The History of England, a 6-volume work of immense sweep, which extends, says its subtitle, "From the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688." Inspired by Voltaire's sense of the breadth of history, Hume widened the focus of the field, away from merely kings, parliaments, and armies, to literature and science as well. He argued that the quest for liberty was the highest standard for judging the past, and concluded that after considerable fluctuation, England at the time of his writing had achieved "the most entire system of liberty that was ever known amongst mankind."[113]

Hume's coverage of the political upheavals of the 17th century relied in large part on the Earl of Clarendon's History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (1646–69). Generally, Hume took a moderate royalist position and considered revolution was unnecessary to achieve necessary reform. Hume's was considered a Tory history, and emphasised religious differences more than constitutional issues. Laird Okie wrote: "Hume preached the virtues of political moderation, but ... it was moderation with an anti-Whig, pro-royalist coloring." For "Hume shared the ... Tory belief that the Stuarts were no more high-handed than their Tudor predecessors." Also, "Even though Hume wrote with an anti-Whig animus, it is, paradoxically, correct to regard the History as an establishment work, one which implicitly endorsed the ruling oligarchy" .[114] Historians have debated whether Hume posited a universal unchanging human nature, or allowed for evolution and development.[115]

Catholic writer Robert Roth argues that Hume's histories display his biases against Presbyterians and Puritans. Roth says his anti-Whig pro-monarchy position diminished the influence of his work, and that his emphasis on politics and religion led to a neglect of social and economic history.[116]

However, Hume was an early cultural historian of science. His short biographies of leading scientists explored the process of scientific change. He developed new ways of seeing scientists in the context of their times by looking at how they interacted with society and each other. He covers over forty scientists, with special attention paid to Francis Bacon, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton. Hume especially selected William Harvey for praise, writing about his treatise of the circulation of the blood: "Harvey is entitled to the glory of having made, by reasoning alone, without any mixture of accident, a capital discovery in one of the most important branches of science."[117]

The History sold well, finally giving him financial independence,[118] and was influential for nearly a century, despite competition from imitations by Smollett (1757), Goldsmith (1771) and others. By 1894, there were at least 50 editions.[119] There was also an often-reprinted abridgement, The Student's Hume (1859).

Political theory

It is difficult to categorise Hume's political affiliations. His writings contain elements that are, in modern terms, both conservative and liberal, as well as ones that are both contractarian and utilitarian, though these terms are all anachronistic. Thomas Jefferson banned Hume's History from the University of Virginia, fearing that it "has spread universal toryism over the land."[120] Yet, Samuel Johnson thought Hume "a Tory by chance ... for he has no principle. If he is anything, he is a Hobbist", a follower of Thomas Hobbes.[121] His central concern is to show the importance of the rule of law, and stresses throughout his political Essays the importance of moderation in politics.

This outlook needs to be seen within the historical context of eighteenth century Scotland. Here, the legacy of religious civil war, combined with the relatively recent memory of the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite risings, fostered in a historian such as Hume a distaste for enthusiasm and factionalism. These appeared to threaten the fragile and nascent political and social stability of a country that was deeply politically and religiously divided.[122] Hume thought that society is best governed by a general and impartial system of laws; he is less concerned about the form of government that administers these laws, so long as it does so fairly. However, he does write that a republic must produce laws, while "monarchy, when absolute, contains even something repugnant to law."[123]

Hume expressed suspicion of attempts to reform society in ways that departed from long-established custom, and he counselled peoples not to resist their governments except in cases of the most egregious tyranny.[124] However, he resisted aligning himself with either of Britain's two political parties, the Whigs and the Tories. Hume wrote:

My views of things are more conformable to Whig principles; my representations of persons to Tory prejudices.[125]

Canadian philosopher Neil McArthur writes that Hume believed that we should try to balance our demands for liberty with the need for strong authority, without sacrificing either. McArthur characterises Hume as a "precautionary conservative", whose actions would have been "determined by prudential concerns about the consequences of change, which often demand we ignore our own principles about what is ideal or even legitimate."[126] Hume supported the liberty of the press, and was sympathetic to democracy, when suitably constrained. American historian Douglass Adair has argued that Hume was a major inspiration for James Madison's writings, and the essay "Federalist No. 10" in particular.[127]

Hume was also, in general, an optimist about social progress, believing that, thanks to the economic development that comes with the expansion of trade, societies progress from a state of "barbarism" to one of "civilisation". Civilised societies are open, peaceful and sociable, and their citizens are, as a result, much happier. It is therefore not fair to characterise him, as English author Leslie Stephen did, as favouring "that stagnation which is the natural ideal of a sceptic."[128]

Hume offered his view on the best type of society in an essay titled "Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth", which lays out what he thought was the best form of government. He hoped that, "in some future age, an opportunity might be afforded of reducing the theory to practice, either by a dissolution of some old government, or by the combination of men to form a new one, in some distant part of the world". He defended a strict separation of powers, decentralisation, extending the franchise to anyone who held property of value and limiting the power of the clergy. The system of the Swiss militia was proposed as the best form of protection. Elections were to take place on an annual basis and representatives were to be unpaid.[129] Political philosophers Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, writing of Hume's thoughts about "the wise statesman", note that he "will bear a reverence to what carries the marks of age." Also, if he wishes to improve a constitution, his innovations will take account of the "ancient fabric", in order not to disturb society.[130]

In the political analysis of philosopher government by consent. He notes that "allegiance is a habit enforced by education and consequently as much a part of human nature as any other motive."[131]

Contributions to economic thought

Statues of David Hume and Adam Smith by David Watson Stevenson on the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh

Through his discussions on politics, Hume developed many ideas that are prevalent in the field of economics. This includes ideas on private property, inflation, and foreign trade.[132] Referring to his essay "Of the Balance of Trade", economist Paul Krugman has remarked that "David Hume created what I consider the first true economic model."[133]

In contrast to Locke, Hume believes that private property is not a natural right. Hume argues it is justified, because resources are limited. Private property would be an unjustified, "idle ceremonial", if all goods were unlimited and available freely. Hume also believed in an unequal distribution of property, because perfect equality would destroy the ideas of thrift and industry. Perfect equality would thus lead to impoverishment.[134]

Influence

Attention to Hume's philosophical works grew after the German philosopher Immanuel Kant credited Hume with awakening him from "dogmatic slumbers" (circa 1770).[135]

According to Hegel, Herbart and Schleiermacher taken together."[136]

A. J. Ayer (1936), introducing his classic exposition of logical positivism, claimed: "The views which are put forward in this treatise derive from ... doctrines ... which are themselves the logical outcome of the empiricism of Berkeley and David Hume."[137] Albert Einstein, in 1915, wrote that he was inspired by Hume's positivism when formulating his theory of special relativity.[138] Hume was called "the prophet of the Wittgensteinian revolution" by N. Phillipson, referring to his view that mathematics and logic are closed systems, disguised tautologies, and have no relation to the world of experience.[139] David Fate Norton asserted in 1993 that Hume was "the first post-sceptical philosopher of the early modern period."[140]

Hume's problem of induction was also of fundamental importance to the philosophy of Karl Popper. In his autobiography, Unended Quest,[141] he wrote: "Knowledge ... is objective; and it is hypothetical or conjectural. This way of looking at the problem made it possible for me to reformulate Hume's problem of induction". This insight resulted in Popper's major work The Logic of Scientific Discovery.[142] In his Conjectures and Refutations, p. 55, he wrote:

I approached the problem of induction through Hume. Hume, I felt, was perfectly right in pointing out that induction cannot be logically justified.

Works

  • A Kind of History of My Life (1734) Mss 23159 National Library of Scotland.[143] A letter to an unnamed physician, asking for advice about "the Disease of the Learned" that then afflicted him. Here he reports that at the age of eighteen "there seem'd to be open'd up to me a new Scene of Thought" that made him "throw up every other Pleasure or Business" and turned him to scholarship.[144]
  • A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to introduce the experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects. (1739–40) Hume intended to see whether the Treatise of Human Nature met with success, and if so to complete it with books devoted to Politics and Criticism. However, it did not meet with success. As Hume himself said, "It fell dead-born from the press, without reaching such distinction as even to excite a murmur among the zealots"[16] and so was not completed.
  • An Abstract of a Book lately Published: Entitled A Treatise of Human Nature etc. (1740) Anonymously published, but almost certainly written by Hume[145] in an attempt to popularise his Treatise. Of considerable philosophical interest, because it spells out what he considered "The Chief Argument" of the Treatise, in a way that seems to anticipate the structure of the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding.
  • Essays Moral and Political (first ed. 1741–2) A collection of pieces written and published over many years, though most were collected together in 1753–4. Many of the essays are focused on topics in politics and economics, though they also range over questions of aesthetic judgement, love, marriage and polygamy, and the demographics of ancient Greece and Rome, to name just a few of the topics considered. The Essays show some influence from Addison's Tatler and The Spectator, which Hume read avidly in his youth.
  • A Letter from a Gentleman to His Friend in Edinburgh: Containing Some Observations on a Specimen of the Principles concerning Religion and Morality, said to be maintain'd in a Book lately publish'd, intituled A Treatise of Human Nature etc. Edinburgh (1745). Contains a letter written by Hume to defend himself against charges of atheism and scepticism, while applying for a chair at Edinburgh University.
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) Contains reworking of the main points of the Treatise, Book 1, with the addition of material on free will (adapted from Book 2), miracles, the Design Argument, and mitigated scepticism. Of Miracles, section X of the Enquiry, was often published separately.
  • An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751) A reworking of material from Book 3 of the Treatise, on morality, but with a significantly different emphasis. It "was thought by Hume to be the best of his writings".[146]
  • Political Discourses, (part II of Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary within vol. 1 of the larger Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects) Edinburgh (1752). Included in Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects (1753–56) reprinted 1758–77.
  • Political Discourses/Discours politiques (1752–1758), My Own life (1776), Of Essay writing, 1742. Bilingual English-French (translated by Fabien Grandjean). Mauvezin, France: Trans-Europ-Repress, 1993, 22 cm, V-260 p. Bibliographic notes, index.
  • Four Dissertations London (1757). Included in reprints of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects (above).
  • The History of England (Sometimes referred to as The History of Great Britain) (1754–62) More a category of books than a single work, Hume's history spanned "from the invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution of 1688" and went through over 100 editions. Many considered it the standard history of England in its day.
  • The Natural History of Religion. Included in "Four Dissertations" (1757)
  • "My Own Life" (1776) Penned in April, shortly before his death, this autobiography was intended for inclusion in a new edition of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. It was first published by Adam Smith who claimed that by doing so he had incurred "ten times more abuse than the very violent attack I had made upon the whole commercial system of Great Britain."[147]
  • Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) Published posthumously by his nephew, David Hume the Younger. Being a discussion among three fictional characters concerning the nature of God, and is an important portrayal of the argument from design. Despite some controversy, most scholars agree that the view of Philo, the most sceptical of the three, comes closest to Hume's own.[148]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ A. R. J. Fisher, "Causal and Logical Necessity in Malebranche's Occasionalism", Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 41(4), December 2011, pp. 523–48.
  2. ^ "BBC: Great Thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment". David Hume was one of the greatest philosophers the world has ever known. 
  3. ^ McGee, B., The Great Philosophers: An Introduction to Western Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 146.
  4. ^ Margaret Atherton, ed. The Empiricists: Critical Essays on Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.
  5. ^ Paul Russel (17 May 2010). "Hume on Religion". First published October 4, 2005. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition). Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Fodor, Jerry. Hume Variations. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 134.
  7. ^ Oxford English Dictionary: "Property inherited from one's father or passed down from one's ancestors; an inheritance."
  8. ^ Hume, D., The Letters of David Hume, Volume 1, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 1-2.
  9. ^ Hume, D., The Letters of David Hume, Volume 1, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 13-15. (Original capitals)
  10. ^ Hume, David (1993). "My Own Life". In Norton, DF. The Cambridge Companion to Hume.  .
  11. ^ In a letter to 'Jemmy' Birch, quoted in Mossner, E. C. (2001). The life of David Hume. Oxford University Press. p. 626.
  12. ^ Hume, David (1993). "A Kind of History of My Life". In Norton, DF. The Cambridge Companion to Hume.  .
  13. ^ See Johnson, Oliver A (1995). "The Mind of David Hume". University of Illinois Press. pp. 8–9. , for a useful presentation of varying interpretations of Hume's "scene of thought" remark.
  14. ^ a b Mossner, 193.
  15. ^ Mossner, 195
  16. ^ a b c David Hume, A Kind of History of My Life. In Norton, D. F. (ed.) (1993). The Cambridge Companion to Hume, Cambridge University Press, p. 352
  17. ^ An Abstract of a Book lately Published; Entitled, A Treatise of Human Nature, &c. Wherein the Chief Argument of that Book is farther Illustrated and Explained, (London, 1740)
  18. ^ Norton, David Fate(ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Hume, Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 31.
  19. ^ Nobbs, Douglas (1965). "The Political Ideas of William Cleghorn, Hume's Academic Rival". Journal of the History of Ideas 26 (4): 575–86.  .
  20. ^ Grant, Old and New Edinburgh in the 18th Century (Glasgow, 1883), p. 7
  21. ^ , A&C Black, 2005, p. xxii.Early Responses to Hume's Life And Reputation: Volumes 9 and 10Fieser, J.,
  22. ^ Buckle, S., Hume's biography and Hume's philosophy, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 77, No 1, pp. 1-25; March 1999.
  23. ^ Emerson, RL., Essays on David Hume Medical Men and the Scottish Enlightenment: Industry Knowledge and Humanity, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2009, p.244.
  24. ^ Hume, David (1754–56). "The History of Great Britain". London. p. 353. 
  25. ^ Sher, Richard B. (2006). The Enlightenment & the book: Scottish authors & their publishers in eighteenth-century Britain, Ireland, & America. Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology Series. University of Chicago Press. p. 313.  
  26. ^ Hume, David (1776). "My Own Life". .
  27. ^ Russell, 2008, O'Connor, 2001, and Norton, 1993
  28. ^ Mossner, E. C. (2001). The life of David Hume. Oxford University Press. p. 206
  29. ^ , SUNY Press, 1998 , p. 454n.A Comparative History of World Philosophy: From the Upanishads to KantScharfstein, B-A,
  30. ^ Hume, D. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding "the gradual progress of the Catholic superstition"; and On Superstition and Enthusiasm: "Modern Judaism and popery especially the latter being the most unphilosophical and absurd superstitions which have yet been known in the world"
  31. ^ Hume, D. The Natural History of Religion "our present experience concerning the principles and opinions of barbarous nations. The savage tribes of America, Africa and Asia are all idolaters."
  32. ^ Hume, D. Of Superstition and Enthusiasm: "That the corruption of the best of things produces the worst is grown into a maxim, and is commonly proved, among other instances, by the pernicious effects of superstition and enthusiasm, the corruptions of true religion." (p. 104) and "all enthusiasts have been free from the yoke of ecclesiastics and have exprest great independence in their devotion with a contempt of forms ceremonies and traditions. The Quakers are the most egregious tho at the same time the most innocent enthusiasts ... The Independents of all the English sectaries approach nearest to the Quakers in fanaticism and in their freedom from priestly bondage. The Presbyterians follow after at an equal distance in both particulars. (p.107) in Essays by David Hume, John Long, London, 1923
  33. ^ Hume, D. The Natural History of Religion "Where the deity is represented as infinitely superior to mankind this belief tho altogether just is apt ... to represent the monkish virtues of mortification, penance, humility and passive suffering as the only qualities which are acceptable to him. But where the gods are conceived to be only a little superior to mankind and to have been many of them advanced that inferior rank we are more at our ease in our addresses to them and may even without profaneness aspire sometimes to a rivalship and emulation of them."
  34. ^ Russell, Paul (2008). The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism and Irreligion, New York & Oxford, Oxford University Press
  35. ^ O'Connor (2009), pp. 11 & 19.
  36. ^ Fieser< J., A Bibliography of Hume's Writings and Early Responses, James Fieser, 2003, p. 59.
  37. ^ Mossner, p. 265
  38. ^ Mossner, Appendix H
  39. ^ Boswell, J. Boswell in Extremes, 1776–1778
  40. ^ Mossner, p. 591
  41. ^ Smith, Adam Letter to William Strahan at p. xx of Hume's The History of England, New Edition, London, 1789.
  42. ^ David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, (New York: Dover, 2003 edition), p. 7
  43. ^ Copleston, F., A history of Philosophy, A&C Black, 1999, v. 6, p. 406.
  44. ^ A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic, (Penguin, 2001 edition), pp. 40ff
  45. ^ a b See, e.g.,
    • Edward Craig, The Mind of God and the Works of Man, Ch.2
    • Galen Strawson, The Secret Connexion, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989)
    • John Wright, The Sceptical Realism of David Hume, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1983)
  46. ^ John D. Kenyon, 'Doubts about the Concept of Reason', in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, Vol. 59, (1985), 249–267
  47. ^ Hume, D. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, p. 108
  48. ^ These are Hume's terms. In modern parlance, demonstration may be termed deductive reasoning, while probability may be termed inductive reasoning: see Dr. Peter J. R. Millican's. "Hume, Induction and Probability". D.Phil thesis. 
  49. ^ Hume, D. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, p. 111
  50. ^ Hume, D. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, p. 115
  51. ^ John D. Kenyon, 'Doubts about the Concept of Reason', in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, Vol. 59, (1985), p. 254
  52. ^  
  53. ^ For this account of Hume's views on causation,
    • A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic, (Penguin, 2001 edition), pp. 40–42
  54. ^ David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, (New York: Dover, 2003 edition), p. 168
  55. ^ David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, (New York: Dover, 2003 edition), p. 56
  56. ^ , A&C Black, 2006, pp. 91-92.Hume's Theory of CausationCoventry, AM.,
  57. ^ David Hume, in J.Y.T. Greig, ed., The Letters of David Hume, 2 vols. (New York: Garland, 1983), 1:187.
  58. ^ See S. Blackburn, ‘Hume and Thick Connexions', in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 50, Supplement. (Autumn, 1990), pp. 237–250
  59. ^ Hume, D. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, p. 147, fn.17
  60. ^ Ayer, AJ., Language, Truth and Logic, (Penguin, 2001 edition), pp. 135–6
  61. ^ , Oxford University Press, 1984.Reasons and PersonsParfit, D.,
  62. ^ Galen Strawson, The Evident Connexion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)[1] doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608508.001.0001
  63. ^ Craig, E., The mind of God and the works of man, Clarendon Press, 1987, Ch.2.
  64. ^ Traiger, S., The Blackwell Guide to Hume's Treatise, John Wiley & Sons, 15 2008, pp. 142-143.
  65. ^ Giles, J., No Self to be Found: the Search for Personal Identity, University Press of America, 1997.
  66. ^ Giles, James (1993). "The No-Self Theory: Hume, Buddhism, and Personal Identity". Philosophy East and West 43 (2): 175–200.  
  67. ^ Copnik, A,. "Could David Hume Have Known about Buddhism?", Hume Studies, Volume 35, Number 1&2, 2009, pp. 5–28.
  68. ^ Treatise, p. 295
  69. ^ M. Smith, 'The Humean Theory of Motivation', Mind, New Series, Vol. 96, No. 381 (Jan. 1987), pp. 36–61
  70. ^ S. Blackburn, 'Practical Tortoise Raising', Mind, New Series, Vol. 104, No. 416 (Oct. 1995), pp. 695–711
  71. ^ J. McDowell, 'Non-Cognitivism and Rule-Following', in S. Holtzman and C. Leich, Wittgenstein: To Follow A Rule, (1981, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul)
  72. ^ C. Korsgaard, 'Scepticism about Practical Reason', The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 83, No. 1 (Jan. 1986), pp. 5–25
  73. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica: David Hume.
  74. ^ Treatise, op. cit., p. 325
  75. ^ Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), ed. K. Haakonssen, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  76. ^ For Hutcheson's influence on Hume, see footnote 7. For his influence on Smith, see William L. Taylor, Francis Hutcheson and David Hume as Predecessors of Adam Smith, (Durham: Duke University Press, 1965)
  77. ^ a b Peter Singer (2014): The climax of moral sense theory: Hutcheson and Hume. Encyclopædia Britannica
  78. ^ Wright, JP., Hume's 'A Treatise of Human Nature': An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 254-255.
  79. ^ A. J. Ayer. Language, Truth and Logic, ch.6
  80. ^ C. L. Stevenson. Ethics and Language (1944), (Yale: Yale UP, 1960)
  81. ^ John Mackie. Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (1977), (Penguin, 1990)
  82. ^ Simon Blackburn. Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reasoning, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998)
  83. ^ Gibbard, A., Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative Judgment, Harvard UP, 1990.
  84. ^ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Hume's Aesthetics".
  85. ^ Treatise, Part iii, p. 342.
  86. ^ Costelloe, TM., Aesthetics and Morals in the Philosophy of David Hume, Routledge, 2013, p. viii.
  87. ^ Harris, JA. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 401.
  88. ^ Schmidt, CM., David Hume: Reason in History, Penn State Press, 2010, pp. 325-326.
  89. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Major concerns of 18th-century aesthetics".
  90. ^ "Stanford Encyclopedia". Compatibilism. 
  91. ^ a b Wright, Richard (2009). Understanding religious ethics. 
  92. ^ Hume, D. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, p. 148
  93. ^ Hume, D. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, p. 149
  94. ^ a b Hume, D. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, p. 159
  95. ^ Hume, D. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, p. 161
  96. ^ See, e.g., Hobart, RE (1934). "Free Will as Involving Determination and Inconceivable Without It". Mind 43 (169): 1–27.  
  97. ^ , Routledge, 2008.Freedom and Resentment and Other EssaysStrawson, PF.,
  98. ^ . Hume on Religion.Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  99. ^ , Routledge, 2013, pp.7-8.Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Hume on ReligionO'Connor, D.,
  100. ^ a b c Encyclopaedia Britannica, Christian philosophy as natural theology.
  101. ^ Loeb, LE., in Radcliffe, ES. (ed.), A Companion to Hume, John Wiley & Sons, 2010, p. 118.
  102. ^ Madden, MD., "Giving the devil his due", in Sennett, JF. and Groothuis, D., In Defense of Natural Theology: A Post-Humean Assessment, InterVarsity Press, 2005, p. 150]
  103. ^ Hume, D., Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, p.107.
  104. ^ Dennett, DC., "Atheism and evolution", in Linda Zagzebski, Timothy D. Miller, Timothy Miller, Readings in Philosophy of Religion: Ancient to Contemporary, John Wiley & Sons, 2009, pp. 620-621.]
  105. ^ a b Hume, D., An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, Section 10.
  106. ^ Hume, D (1902) [1748]. "Section X – Of Miracles". In Selby-Bigge, LA. An Enquiry concerning human understanding (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 116–122. 
  107. ^  
  108. ^ Hume, D. (1748) "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding." in Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources (R. Ariew, E. Watkins), Hackett 1998
  109. ^ , Springer Science & Business Media, 1989, p. 3.Hume and the Problem of Miracles: A SolutionLevine, M.,
  110. ^ Beauchamp, TL. ed.,An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: A Critical Edition, David Hume, Clarendon Press, 2006, p. 57.
  111. ^ Mackie, J. L. The Miracle of Theism (Oxford: Oxford: University Press, 1982), 29
  112. ^ Buckle, Stephen, Hume's Enlightenment Tract: The Unity and Purpose of An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001), 269–74
  113. ^ Hume vol 6. p 531 cited in John Philipps Kenyon (1984). The history men: the historical profession in England since the Renaissance. U. of Pittsburgh Press. p. 42.  
  114. ^ Okie, L., Ideology and Partiality in David Hume's History of England, Hume Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1 (April 1985), 1–32.[2]
  115. ^ Wertz, S. K. "Hume, History, and Human Nature," Journal of the History of Ideas (1975) 36#3 pp. 481-496 in JSTOR
  116. ^ Robert J. Roth, "David Hume on Religion in England," Thought (1991) 66#260 pp. 51–64
  117. ^ Wertz, S. K. "Hume and the Historiography of Science," Journal of the History of Ideas (1993) 54#3 pp. 411–436 in JSTOR
  118. ^ Morris, William Edward, David Hume, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2001 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
  119. ^ Phillipson, Nicholas (2012). David Hume: The Philosopher As Historian. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 131.  
  120. ^ Laurence L. Bongie. "David Hume: Prophet of the Counter-revolution (1965)". The Online Library of Liberty. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  121. ^ David Hume. "LETTER LXXXIV.: The Bath Waters injurious: Complaints of Injustice: Hume's Autobiography: Dialogues on Natural Religion. – David Hume, Letters of David Hume to William Strahan (1756)". Note 13. The Online Library of Liberty. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  122. ^ , Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, p.211.Theory and Practice in the Philosophy of David HumeWiley, J.,
  123. ^ , Cambridge University Press, 1994, p. 63.Hume: Political EssaysHume, D.,
  124. ^ Hume, D. (1740). A Treatise of Human Nature (1817 edition, p. 286)
  125. ^ Quoted in Mossner, EC., The life of David Hume, 1954, reprinted 2001, OUP, p. 311.
  126. ^ Neil McArthur, David Hume's political theory. University of Toronto, 2007, pp.70 & 124.
  127. ^ Adair, D. (1957) "'That Politics Can be Reduced to a Science': David Hume, James Madison, and the Tenth Federalist." Huntington Library Quarterly 20: 343–360
  128. ^ Leslie Stephen, History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols. (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1876), vol. 2, 185
  129. ^ "Idea of a perfect Commonwealth". Library of Economics and Liberty. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  130. ^ , University of Chicago Press, 2012, p. 556.History of Political PhilosophyStrauss, L. and Cropsey, J.,
  131. ^ Sabine, GH., A History of Political Theory, Dryden Press, 1973 (1937), p. 603.
  132. ^ Robbins, Lionel A History of Economic Thought: The LSE Lectures edited by Medema and Samuels. Ch 11 and 12
  133. ^ Krugman, Paul. "How We Know The Earth Is Old". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  134. ^ Hume, David An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751)
  135. ^ Kant, I., Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, 'Preface'
  136. ^ Schopenhauer, A., The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2, Ch. 46, p. 582.
  137. ^ Ayer, AJ., Language, Truth and Logic, London, Preface to First Edition.
  138. ^ Einstein, A., in a letter of 14 December 1915, to Moritz Schlick (Papers, A, Vol. 8A, Doc.165)
  139. ^ Phillipson, N. (1989), Hume, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London
  140. ^ Norton, D. F. (ed.) (1993). The Cambridge Companion to Hume, Cambridge University Press, pp. 90–116
  141. ^ Karl Popper: Unended Quest; An Intellectual Autobiography, 1976, ISBN 0-415-28590-9
  142. ^ Karl Popper: The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1934 (as Logik der Forschung, English translation 1959), ISBN 0-415-27844-9
  143. ^ David Fate Norton (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Hume, Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp. 345-350.
  144. ^ The Cambridge Companion to Hume, cit. pp. 346.
  145. ^ For this see the introduction by J. M. Keynes and P. Sraffa in: Hume, David (1965). An abstract of A treatise of Human Nature 1740. Connecticut: Archon Books
  146. ^ , CUP Archive, 1941, p. 548.The Concise Cambridge History of English LiteratureSamson, G.,
  147. ^ , Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 466.The Oxford Handbook of Adam SmithBerry, CJ., Paganelli, MP. and Smith, C.,
  148. ^ William Crouch. ?"Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion"Which character is Hume in the . 

References

  • Anderson, R. F. (1966). Hume's First Principles, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.
  • Ayer, A. J. (1936). Language, Truth and Logic. London.
  • Bongie, L. L. (1998). David Hume — Prophet of the Counter-Revolution. Liberty Fund, Indianapolis,
  • Broackes, Justin (1995). Hume, David, in Ted Honderich (ed.) The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, New York, Oxford University Press,
  • Daiches D., Jones P., Jones J. (eds )The Scottish Enlightenment: 1730–1790 A Hotbed of Genius The University of Edinburgh, 1986. In paperback, The Saltire Society, 1996 ISBN 0-85411-069-0
  • Einstein, A. (1915) Letter to Moritz Schlick, Schwarzschild, B. (trans. & ed.) in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, vol. 8A, R. Schulmann, A. J. Fox, J. Illy, (eds.) Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ (1998), p. 220.
  • Flew, A. (1986). David Hume: Philosopher of Moral Science, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Fogelin, R. J. (1993). Hume's scepticism. In Norton, D. F. (ed.) (1993). The Cambridge Companion to Hume, Cambridge University Press, pp. 90–116.
  • Garfield, Jay L. (1995) The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way Oxford University Press
  • Giles, J. (1993). "The No-Self Theory: Hume, Buddhism, and Personal Identity". Philosophy East and West 43 (2): 175–200.  
  • Giles, J. (1997) No Self to be Found: The Search for Personal Identity University Press of America.
  • Graham, R. (2004). The Great Infidel — A Life of David Hume. John Donald, Edinburgh.
  • Harwood, Sterling (1996). "Moral Sensibility Theories", in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Supplement) (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co.).
  • Hume, D. (EHU) (1777). An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. Nidditch, P. N. (ed.), 3rd. ed. (1975), Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  • Hume, D. (1751). An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. David Hume, Essays Moral, Political, and Literary edited with preliminary dissertations and notes by T.H. Green and T.H. Grose, 1:1–8. London: Longmans, Green 1907.
  • Hume, D. (1740). A Treatise of Human Nature (1967, edition). Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Hume, D. (1752–1758). Political Discourses
Bilingual English-French (translated by Fabien Grandjean). Mauvezin, France, Trans-Europ-Repress, 1993, 22 cm, V-260 p. Bibliographic notes, index.
  • Husserl, E. (1970). The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, Carr, D. (trans.), Northwestern University Press, Evanston.
  • Kolakowski, L. (1968). The Alienation of Reason: A History of Positivist Thought, Doubleday, Garden City.
  • Morris, William Edward, David Hume, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2001 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
  • Mossner, Ernest Campbell (April 1950). "Philosophy and Biography: The Case of David Hume". The Philosophical Review 59 (2): 184–201.  
  • Norton, D. F. (1993). Introduction to Hume's thought. In Norton, D. F. (ed.), (1993). The Cambridge Companion to Hume, Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–32.
  • O'Connor, D. (2001). Routledge philosophy guidebook to Hume and religion, Routledge, London.
  • Penelhum, T. (1993). Hume's moral philosophy. In Norton, D. F. (ed.), (1993). The Cambridge Companion to Hume, Cambridge University Press, pp. 117–147.
  • Phillipson, N. (1989). Hume, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London.
  • Popkin, Richard H. (1993) "Sources of Knowledge of Sextus Empiricus in Hume's Time" Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 54, No. 1. (Jan. 1993), pp. 137–141.
  • Popkin, R. & Stroll, A. (1993) Philosophy. Reed Educational and Professional Publishing Ltd, Oxford.
  • Popper. K. (1960). Knowledge without authority. In Miller D. (ed.), (1983). Popper, Oxford, Fontana, pp. 46–57.
  • Robinson, Dave & Groves, Judy (2003). Introducing Political Philosophy. Icon Books. ISBN 1-84046-450-X.
  • Russell, B. (1946). A History of Western Philosophy. London, Allen and Unwin.
  • Robbins, Lionel (1998). A History of Economic Thought: The LSE Lectures. Edited by Steven G. Medema and Warren J. Samuels. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
  • Sgarbi, M. (2012). “Hume’s Source of the “Impression-Idea” Distinction,” Anales del Seminario de Historia de la Filosofía, 2: 561–576
  • Spencer, Mark G., ed. David Hume: Historical Thinker, Historical Writer (Penn State University Press; 2013) 282 pages; Interdisciplinary essays that consider his intertwined work as historian and philosopher
  • Spiegel, Henry William,(1991). The Growth of Economic Thought, 3rd Ed., Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Stroud, B. (1977). Hume, Routledge, London & New York.
  • Taylor, A. E. (1927). David Hume and the Miraculous, Leslie Stephen Lecture. Cambridge, pp. 53–4.

Further reading

  • Ardal, Pall (1966). Passion and Value in Hume's Treatise, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press.
  • Bailey, Alan & O'Brien, Dan (eds.) (2012). The Continuum Companion to Hume, New York: Continuum.
  • Beauchamp, Tom & Rosenberg, Alexander (1981). Hume and the Problem of Causation, New York, Oxford University Press.
  • Campbell Mossner, Ernest (1980). The Life of David Hume, Oxford University Press.
  • Gilles Deleuze (1953). Empirisme et subjectivité. Essai sur la Nature Humaine selon Hume, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, trans. Empiricism and Subjectivity, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991)
  • Garrett, Don (1996). Cognition and Commitment in Hume's Philosophy. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Gaskin, J.C.A. (1978). Hume's Philosophy of Religion. Humanities Press International.
  • Hesselberg, A. Kenneth (1961). Hume, Natural Law and Justice. Duquesne Review, Spring 1961, pp. 46–47.
  • Kail, P. J. E. (2007) Projection and Realism in Hume's Philosophy, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Kemp Smith, Norman (1941). .The Philosophy of David Hume. Macmillan.
  • Norton, David Fate (1982). David Hume: Common-Sense Moralist, Sceptical Metaphysician. Princeton University Press, 1982.
  • Norton, David Fate & Taylor, Jacqueline (eds.) (2009). The Cambridge companion to Hume, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Radcliffe, Elizabeth S. (ed.) (2008). A Companion to Hume, Malden: Blackwell.
  • Rosen, Frederick (2003). Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill (Routledge Studies in Ethics & Moral Theory). ISBN 0-415-22094-7
  • Russell, Paul (1995). Freedom and Moral Sentiment: Hume's Way of Naturalizing Responsibility. New York & Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • Russell, Paul (2008). The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism and Irreligion, New York & Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • Stroud, Barry (1977). Hume, Routledge, London & New York. (Complete study of Hume's work parting from the interpretation of Hume's naturalistic philosophical programme).
  • Wilson, Fred (2008). The external world and our knowledge of it : Hume's critical realism, an exposition and a defence, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Wikisource logo Works written by or about David Hume at Wikisource
  • Quotations related to David Hume at Wikiquote
  • davidhume.org All of Hume's philosophical works in authoritative searchable editions, with related resources (including articles, bibliography, and the original manuscript of the Dialogues)
  • David Hume at the Online Library of Liberty
  • Works by David Hume at Project Gutenberg
  • Books by David Hume at the Online Books Page
  • Works by or about David Hume in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • David Hume resources including books, articles, and encyclopedia entries
  • David Hume readable versions of the Treatise, the Abstract of the Treatise, the two Enquiries, the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and four essays
  • David Hume entry by David William Morris in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • A Bibliography of Hume's Early Writings and Early Responses
  • Peter Millican. Critical Survey of the Literature on Hume and his First Enquiry (Surveys around 250 books and articles on Hume and related topics)
  • The David Hume Collection at McGill University Library
  • David Hume at DMOZ
  • El Monetarismo Amable de David Hume
  • David Hume (1711–1776).  
  • The Hume Society