Essays: Moral, Political and Literary (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Cosimo, Inc., Dec 1, 2007 - Philosophy - 628 pages
3 Reviews
As part of the tried and true model of informal essay writing, Hume began publishing his Essays: Moral, Political and Literary in 1741. The majority of these finely honed treatises fall into three distinct areas: political theory, economic theory and aesthetic theory. Interestingly, Hume's was motivated to produce a collection of informal essays given the poor public reception of his more formally written Treatise of Human Nature in 1739. He hoped that his work would be interesting not only to the educated man, but to the common man as well. He passionately argues that essays provide a forum for discussing his philosophy of "common life." DAVID HUME (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher and historian. Educated at Edinburgh, he lived in France from 1734 to 1737, where he finished his first philosophical work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40). His additional philosophical works include An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748), Political Discourses (1752), The Natural History of Religion (1755), and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779).
  

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Essays: Moral, Political and Literary

User Review  - Paul Orlando Barone - Goodreads

Hume's ethical and political writings in a single collection. Read full review

Review: Essays: Moral, Political and Literary

User Review  - Paul Barone - Goodreads

Hume's ethical and political writings in a single collection. Read full review

Contents

I
1
II
3
III
8
IV
13
V
29
VI
35
VII
40
VIII
48
XXIV
231
XXV
257
XXVI
259
XXVII
275
XXVIII
289
XXIX
303
XXX
316
XXXI
334

IX
54
X
63
XI
75
XII
81
XIII
89
XIV
98
XV
112
XVI
139
XVII
147
XVIII
157
XIX
161
XX
185
XXI
196
XXII
202
XXIII
221
XXXII
339
XXXIII
349
XXXIV
355
XXXV
372
XXXVI
381
XXXVII
452
XXXVIII
474
XXXIX
478
XL
487
XLI
499
XLII
517
XLIII
545
XLIV
605
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 40 - POLITICAL writers have established it as a maxim, that, in contriving any system of government, and fixing the several checks and controls of the constitution, every man ought to be supposed a knave, and to have no other end, in all his actions, than private interest.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2007)

David Hume was born in Edinburgh to a minor Scottish noble family, raised at the estate of Ninewells, and attended the University of Edinburgh for two years until he was 15. Although his family wished him to study law, he found himself unsuited to this. He studied at home, tried business briefly, and after receiving a small inheritance traveled to France, settling at La Fleche, where Descartes had gone to school. There he completed his first and major philosophical work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739--40), published in three volumes. Hume claimed on the title page that he was introducing the experimental method of reasoning into moral subjects, and further that he was offering a new way of seeing the limits of human knowledge. Although his work was largely ignored, Hume gained from it a reputation as a philosophical skeptic and an opponent of traditional religion. (In later years he was called "the great infidel.") This reputation led to his being rejected for professorships at both Edinburgh and Glasgow. To earn his living he served variously as the secretary to General St. Clair, as the attendant to the mad Marquis of Annandale, and as the keeper of the Advocates Library in Edinburgh. While holding these positions, he wrote and published a new version of his philosophy, the two Enquiries, and many essays on social, political, moral, and literary subjects. He also began his six-volume History of England from the Roman Invasion to the Glorious Revolution (1754--62), the work that made him most famous in his lifetime. Hume retired from public life and settled in Edinburgh, where he was the leading figure in Scottish letters and a good friend to many of the leading intellectuals of the time, including Adam Smith and Benjamin Franklin. During this period, he completed the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, which he had been working on for more than 25 years. Hume first worked on the Dialogues in the middle of his career, but put them aside as too provocative. In his last years he finished them and they were published posthumously in 1779. They are probably his best literary effort and have been the basis for continuous discussion and debate among philosophers of religion. Toward the end of Hume's life, his philosophical work began to be taken seriously, and the skeptical problems he had raised were tackled by philosophers in Scotland, France, and finally Germany, where Kant claimed that Hume had awakened him from his dogmatic slumbers. Hume was one of the most influential philosophers of modern times, both as a positive force on skeptical and empirical thinkers and as a philosopher to be refuted by others. Interpreters are still arguing about whether he should be seen as a complete skeptic, a partial skeptic, a precursor of logical positivism, or even a secret believer.

Bibliographic information