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Hume's two-volume treatise on human nature, with emphasis on morals an politics, features an introduction by A.D. Lindway. Hume's two-volume treatise on human nature, with emphasis on morals an politics, features an introduction by A.D. Lindway.


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Hume's two-volume treatise on human nature, with emphasis on morals an politics, features an introduction by A.D. Lindway. Hume's two-volume treatise on human nature, with emphasis on morals an politics, features an introduction by A.D. Lindway.

30 review for A Treatise on Human Nature, Volume 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad Mirzaali

    هیوم این شاه‌کار را در ٢٨سالگی‌اش منتشر کرد. جلد اول «رساله» به مباحث سنتی متافیزیک می‌پردازد و آتش مقابله‌ی تجربه‌باوری با فلسفه‌ی عقل‌باور و البته مَدرَسی را داغ‌تر و سوزان‌تر از همیشه می‌کند. هیوم با بسط نظریه‌ی فهم خود، ادعا می‌کند که تنها ایده‌هایی در فاهمه حاضرند که بر آن‌ها انطباع [=تأثر حسی] معادلی مسبوق بوده باشد. هیوم به این شکل علیت، این‌همانیِ سوژه‌ها یا اشیاء، و بسیاری از مفروضات فلسفه‌های پیشین را زیر سوآل می‌برد و ادراک و تصدیق آن‌ها را به قوه‌ی خیال نسبت می‌دهد —و نه عقل

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    Hume's treatise investigates all aspects of human nature starting in this volume with the origin and division of ideas. He also discusses issues of scepticism, knowledge, probability, and philisophical and other systems all affecting the individual identity... Hume's treatise investigates all aspects of human nature starting in this volume with the origin and division of ideas. He also discusses issues of scepticism, knowledge, probability, and philisophical and other systems all affecting the individual identity...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jon Norimann

    I was quite surprised reading David Humes Treatise on Human Nature. Apart from Humes brilliant refutation of 100% certainty based on observed facts most people including me know very little of Humes works. It turned out this book was mostly a book on the human mind its its interface with the world around it. Clearly a lot of Humes ideas are either over-simplified or dated. Apart from the mentioned anti induction proof the most interesting aspect of the book is how humans thought about the brain I was quite surprised reading David Humes Treatise on Human Nature. Apart from Humes brilliant refutation of 100% certainty based on observed facts most people including me know very little of Humes works. It turned out this book was mostly a book on the human mind its its interface with the world around it. Clearly a lot of Humes ideas are either over-simplified or dated. Apart from the mentioned anti induction proof the most interesting aspect of the book is how humans thought about the brain 300 years ago. Certainly reading the anti induction argument in its original form alone makes it worth reading this book. Its not too long and overall a fascinating look into thinking in the 18th century. Cleary a book worth reading for the perhaps not too many people interested in such things.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Håvard Bamle

    Notes from "A Treatise on Human Nature: Book One", edited by D.G.C. Macnabb, Fontana 1962. Book I: Of the understanding Introduction: [40] All sciences have a relation, greater or wider, to human nature. (Even mathematics, natural philosophy and natural religion are dependent on the science of man, since they lie under the cognizance of men, and are judged by their powers and faculties.) [41] To find the center of the sciences is therefore to examine human nature, and by explaining the principles o Notes from "A Treatise on Human Nature: Book One", edited by D.G.C. Macnabb, Fontana 1962. Book I: Of the understanding Introduction: [40] All sciences have a relation, greater or wider, to human nature. (Even mathematics, natural philosophy and natural religion are dependent on the science of man, since they lie under the cognizance of men, and are judged by their powers and faculties.) [41] To find the center of the sciences is therefore to examine human nature, and by explaining the principles of human nature, we in effect propose a complete system of all the sciences. [42] We cannot go beyond experience. Any hypothesis that pretends to discover the ultimate original qualities of human nature, ought at fist to be rejected as presumptuous and chimerical. [43] This may seem a defect in the science of man. I will venture to affirm, that it is a defect common to all the sciences. None of them can go beyond experience. Part 1: Of ideas, their origin, composition connection, abstraction, etc. Section 1: Of the origin of our ideas: [45] All perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call impressions and ideas. Impressions= all our sensations, passions, and emotions. Ideas= the faint images of these, in our thinking and reasoning. [46] There is another division of our perceptions, which it will be convenient to observe, and which extends itself both to our impressions and ideas. This division is into simple and complex. [47] Every simple idea has a simple impression, which resembles it. (The same is not universally true for complex impressions and ideas.) [48] All our simple ideas in their first appearance are derived from simple impressions, which are correspondent to them, and which they exactly represent. Section 2: Division of the subject [51] Impressions may be divided into two kinds, those of sensation and those of reflection. The first kind arises in the soul originally, from unknown causes. The second is derived in a great measure from our ideas, in the following order: An impression first strikes upon the senses… Of this impression there is a copy taken by the mind, which remains after the impression ceases, and this we call an idea. This idea, when it returns upon the soul, produces the new impressions… These again are copied by the memory and imagination and become ideas, which, perhaps in their turn give rise to other impressions and ideas… (The examination of our sensations belong more to anatomists and natural philosophers than to moral, and therefore shall not at present be entered upon.) Section 3: of the ideas of the memory and imagination [53] The imagination is not restrained to the same order and form with the original impressions. Section 7: Of abstract ideas [61] General ideas are nothing but particular ones annexed to a certain term, which gives them a more extensive signification, and makes them recall upon occasion other individuals, which are similar to them. ¨¨ (This statement is taken from Berkeley) The abstract idea of a man represents men of all sizes and all qualities … either by representing at once all possible sizes and all possible qualities [Abstrakt begrep som mengde: Nominalisme], or by representing no particular one at all [Abstrakt begrep som frittstående “symbol”]. [62-66] Hume prøver her å se om det abstrakte kan løsrives fra det konkrete. Vi ser at det er vanskelig for Hume å unngå ufrivillig bruk av abstraksjoner. En trekant med bestemte mål er fortsatt abstract. Våre bilder av den (en sort trekant på hvit bakgrunn) er bilder av trykte trekanter. En forestilling (indre bilde) av en abstrakjon ER nemlig konkret. Hume er bundet av at ideer kan forestilles. Hume løser dette ved å skille mellom ideer (konkrete) og navn (ord) som er abstrakte. Abstraksjon er å oppdage «likheter» og overse/neglisjere forskjeller (forarming, reduksjon av virkeligheten). [66] We form the idea of individuals whenever we use any general term… This then is the nature of our abstract ideas and general terms; and it is after this manner that we account for the foregoing paradox, that some ideas are particular in their nature, but general in their representation. Part 2: Of the ideas of space and time [71-114] Part 3: Of Knowledge and Probability Section 1: Of Knowledge. Section 2: Of probability, and of the idea of cause and effect: [119] All kinds of reasoning consist in nothing but a comparison, and a discovery of those relations… [120] of those three relations, which depend not upon the mere ideas, the only one that can be traced beyond our senses, and informs us of existences and objects, which we do not see or feel, is causation. [121] The idea of causation must be derived from some relation among objects. 1. Whatever objects are considered as causes or effects, are contiguous. (this one is universally acknowledged) 2. There is a priority in time of the cause before the effect. (this one is not universally acknowledged, but it is the one Hume argues here.) [122]: Hume argues here against the possibility of simultaneous cause and effect. Section 3: Why a Cause is Always Necessary [124] It is a general maxim in philosophy, that whatever begins to exist, must have a cause of existence. This is commonly taken for granted in all reasonings, without any proof given or demanded. It is supposed to be founded on intuition, and to be one of those maxims which, though they may be denied with the lips, it is impossible for men in their hearts really to doubt of. But if we examine this maxim by the idea of knowledge above explained, we shall discover that it in no mark of any such intuitive certainty… [125] All certainty arises from the comparison of ideas, and from the discovery of such relations as are unalterable, so long as the ideas continue the same. These relations are resemblance, proportions in quantity and number, degrees of any quality, and contrariety; none of which are implied in this proposition, Whatever has a beginning has also a cause of existence. That proposition therefore is not intuitively certain. … [in fact, it is ] easy for us to conceive any object to be non-existent this moment, and existent the next, without conjoining to it the distinct idea of a cause or productive principle. The separation therefore of the idea of a cause from that of a beginning of existence, is plainly possible for the imagination, and consequently the actual separation of these objects is so far [126] possible, that implies no contradiction nor absurdity; and is therefore incapable of being refuted by any reasoning from mere ideas, without which it is impossible to demonstrate the necessity of a cause. Accordingly, we shall find upon examination, that every demonstration, which has been produced for the necessity of a cause, is fallacious and sophistical. [126-128: Hume imøtegår fire argumenter]. Section 7: On the nature of the idea or belief. [141] The idea of an object is an essential part of the belief of it, but not the whole. When I think of God, when I think of him as existent, and when I believe him to be existent, my idea of him neither increases nor diminishes. The difference betwixt the simple conception of the existence of an object, and the belief of it, and as this difference lies not in the parts or composition of the idea which we conceive, it follows that it must lie in the manner in which we conceive it. [142-143] It will not be a satisfactory answer to say, that a person who does not assent to a proposition you advance; after having conceived the object in the same manner with you, immediately conceived the object in a different manner, and has different ideas of it. This answer is unsatisfactory; not because it contains any falsehood, but because it discovers not all the truth. All the perceptions of the mind are two kinds, viz. impressions and ideas, which differ from each other only in their different degrees of force and vivacity. *An opinion, therefore, or belief, may be most accurately defined as, a lively idea related to or associated with a present impression. Section 14: Of the idea of necessary connection: [205] What is our idea of necessity, when we say that two objects are necessarily connected together? We must find some impression that gives rise to this idea of necessity. (The argument and conclusion here is that we BELIEVE in cause and effect, because our impressions provide us with a lively idea of the concept of cause and effect, even though cause and effect is not logically necessary, and cannot be observed.) [209] The small success which has been met with in all the attempts to fix this power, has at last obliged philosophers to conclude that the ultimate force and efficacy of nature is perfectly unknown to us, and that it is in vain we search for it in all the known qualities of matter. In this opinion they are almost unanimous; and it is only in the inference they from it that they discover any difference in their sentiments. For some of them, as the Cartesians in particular, having established it as a principle that we are perfectly acquainted with the essence of matter, have very naturally inferred that it is endowed with no efficacy, and that it is impossible for it of itself to communicate motion, or produce any of those effects which we ascribe to it. As the essence of matter consists in extention, and as extention implies not actual motion, but only mobility; they conclude that the energy which produces the motion cannot lie in the extension. This conclusion leads them into another, which they regard as perfectly unavoidable. Matter, say they, is in itself entirely unactive and deprived of any power by which it may produce, or continue, or communicate [210] motion: but since these effects are evident to our senses, and since the power that produces them must be placed somewhere, it must lie in a Deity, or that Devine Being who contains in his nature all excellency and perfection. It is the Deity, therefore, who is the prime mover of the universe, and who not only first created matter, and gave it its original impulse, but likewise, by a continued exertion of omnipotence, supports its existence, and successively bestows on it all those motions, and configurations, and qualities, with which it is endowed. [To Hume, this appeal to a Deity doesn’t hold up, as the argument used to disqualify matter as active can be used equally to disqualify the Deity as active. Hume responds:] If every idea be derived from an impression, the idea of a Deity proceeds from the same origin; and if no impression, either of sensation or reflection, implies any force or efficacy, it is equally impossible to discover or even imagine any such active principle in the Deity. [Hume does NOT take this to be an argument against a Deity. (Excluding an active principle from a Supreme being would in fact be absurd, he admits.) He only takes this to be evidence of the inconsistency in the Cartesian argument. We cannot simply disqualify matter as inactive, for this presumption has no basis in observation.] The fact is that we can have no adequate idea of power or efficacy in any object; since neither in body nor spirit, neither in superior nor inferior natures are they able to discover one single instance of it. [217] Necessity is something that exists in the mind, not in objects. The necessity, which makes two times two equal to four, or three angles of a triangle equal to two right ones, lies only in the act of the understanding. [221-223]: Here Huma summarizes his argument and provides four corollaries. [Humes ambition is not to defeat our thinking in terms of causes and effects, but to demolish the fallacious appeal to necessity. In terms of the logics of cause and effect therefore, anything can be connected to anything. In the next section he therefore outlines some rules for our rationality to follow, so as to have a functional use of the concept of cause and effect, without necessity.] Section 15: (224] Since, therefore, it is possible for all objects to become causes or effects to each other, it may be proper to fix some general rules by which we may know when they really are so. 1. The cause and effect must be contiguous in space and time. 2. The cause must be prior to the effect. 3. There must be a constant union betwixt the cause an effect. It is chiefly this quality that constitutes the relation. 4. The same cause always produces the same effect, and the same ffect never arises but from the same cause…. 5. Where several different objects produce the same effect, it must be by means of some quality which we discover to be common amongst them. 6. Difference in the effects of two resembling objects must proceed from that particular in which they differ. 7. When any object increases or diminishes with the increase or diminution of its cause, it is to be regarded as a compound effect, derived from the union of the several different effects which arise from the several different parts of the cause. 8. An object, which exists for any time in its full perfection without any effect, is not the sole cause of that effect, but requires to be assisted by some other principle. Section 16: Of the reason of animals. [227] Beasts are endowed with thought and reason as well as men. [229] They can never by any argument form a general conclusion… It is by means of custom alone that experience operates upon them. Part 4: Of the Sceptical and other Systems of Philosophy Section 6: Of Personal Identity [300]. There are some philosohpers who imagine we are every moment intimately conscious of what we call our self… [301] Unluckily all these positive assertions are contrary to that very experience which is pleaded for them; nor have we any idea of self… [302] I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception. … Mankind… are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement. … They are the successive perceptions only, that constitute the mind. [303] What then gives us so great a propension to ascribe an identity to these successive perceptions, and to suppose ourselves possessed of an invariable and uninterrupted existence through the whole course of our lives? … To explain it perfectly we must… account for that identity, which we attribute to plants and animals; there being a great analogy betwixt it and the identity of a self or person. … We have a distinct idea of an object that remains invariable and uninterrupted through a supposed variation of time; and this idea we call that of identity or sameness. We also have a distinct idea of several different objects existing in succession, and connected together by a close relation; and this to an accurate view affords as perfect a notion of diversity as if there was no manner of relation among the objects. … [304] We cannot long sustain our philosophy, or take off this bias from the imagination. Our last resource is to yield to it, and boldly assert that these different related objects are in fact the same, however interrupted and variable. (In order to justify ourselves this absurdity, we often feign some new and unintelligible principle, that connects objects together, and prevents their interruption or variation. Thus we feign the continued existence of the perceptions of our senses, to remove the interruption; and run into the notion of a soul, and self, and substance to disguise the variation. Thus the controversy concerning identity is not merely a dispute of words. For when we attribute identity, in an improper sense, to variable or interrupted objects, our mistake is not confined to the expression, but is commonly attended with a fiction, either of something invariable and uninterrupted, or of something mysterious and inexplicable, or at least with a propensity to such fictions. [Hume admits the (epistemic) non-continuity of identity, and proposes that the notion of “the soul” is in a way a comforting narrative that we create in order to sustain our philosophies and appease our imagination. Metaphysics here enter as a way of saving us from the shortcomings of our epistemology and logic.] [This raises the question: if the “soul” is a fiction, not only in its metaphysical understanding, but in any way that proposes a stable core of identity, what then does Hume mean when he talks of the “mind”?] [308] The identity which we ascribe to the mind of a man is only a fictitious one, and of a like kind with that which we ascribe to vegetable and animal bodies. [309] it evidently follows, that identity is nothing really belonging to these different perceptions, and uniting them together, but is merely a quality which we attribute to them… [310] I cannot compare the soul more properly to anything than to a republic or commonwealth, in which the several members are united by the reciprocal ties of government and subordination, and give rise to other persons who propagate the same republic in the incessant changes of its parts. [311] Memory does not so much produce as discover personal identity, by showing us the relation of cause and effect among our different perceptions. [312] Identity depends on the relations of ideas; and these relations produce identity, by means of that easy transition they occasion. But as the relations, and the easiness of the transition may diminish by insensible degrees, we have no just standard by which we can decide any dispute concerning the time when they acquire or lose a title to the name of identity. All the disputes concerning identity of connected objects are merely verbal, except so far as the relation of parts gives rise to some fiction or imaginary principle of union, as we have already observed. What I have said concerning the first origin and uncertainty of our notion of identity, as applied to the human mind, may be extended with little or no variation to that of simplicity. An object, whose different coexistent parts are bound together by a close relation, operates upon the imagination after much the same manner as one perfectly simple and indivisible, and requires not a much greater stretch of thought in order to its conceptions. From this similarity of operation we attribute a simplicity to it, and feign a principle of union as the support of this simplicity, and the centre of all the different parts and qualities of the object.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kylie

    My feelings on this one were going back and forth for awhile, but he ended by trying to quantify the feeling of love by saying we love what gives us pleasure and loathe what brings us pain. That is so far from true. It is way too easy to love what gives us pain. Maybe you can argue that those who do so actually get some pleasure from the pain, or the pleasure brought outweighs the pain, but I really don't think you can quantify it in philosophy, and it's a little arrogant to try. My feelings on this one were going back and forth for awhile, but he ended by trying to quantify the feeling of love by saying we love what gives us pleasure and loathe what brings us pain. That is so far from true. It is way too easy to love what gives us pain. Maybe you can argue that those who do so actually get some pleasure from the pain, or the pleasure brought outweighs the pain, but I really don't think you can quantify it in philosophy, and it's a little arrogant to try.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    If you're ever in need of an entire treatise on human nature, this is the first one you should be reaching for. Hume treats both his subject matter and his reader with the delicate touch required when delivering a still born. And he's pretty funny. Not like Kant (nothing funny about that guy). If you're ever in need of an entire treatise on human nature, this is the first one you should be reaching for. Hume treats both his subject matter and his reader with the delicate touch required when delivering a still born. And he's pretty funny. Not like Kant (nothing funny about that guy).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Naoise

    Yeah I'm cheating here a bit by just reading the first book, but Hume's smug anglo-ism (despite being Scottish) is too much for me for 4 fucking volumes. Still, his system has some utility is in its empirical and logical rigor. I can certainly see how Hume kind of brought in a much more naturalistic and relatable approach to philosophy - as opposed to the rationalists who came before him - in a similar way that Aristotle and the Peripatetics changed up the more mystical Platonic style which was Yeah I'm cheating here a bit by just reading the first book, but Hume's smug anglo-ism (despite being Scottish) is too much for me for 4 fucking volumes. Still, his system has some utility is in its empirical and logical rigor. I can certainly see how Hume kind of brought in a much more naturalistic and relatable approach to philosophy - as opposed to the rationalists who came before him - in a similar way that Aristotle and the Peripatetics changed up the more mystical Platonic style which was dominant. Insights like how Spinoza's monism is the logical conclusion to the Church Father's thought is quite interesting. And similarly the take that Spinoza's philosophy must affirm the position of the immortality of the souls. In general I do support the more analytic, challenging and utilitarian turn Hume took philosophy with his empiricism. You have to remember that without Hume Kant never wakes up from his dogmatic slumber, and then we'd never have the Critiques. But still, all that being said, Hume's system is disastrous. It's not that the critical phase of his philosophy is flawed, as the problem of induction and necessary connextion are compelling puzzles. Where he falls flat is in building much of an alternative system. And yes I'm aware he does most of that in the following books, but as I understand it there's a reason everyone really remembers Hume for his deconstruction - not his building back up. By the end of this book he's already setting the tone for a radical skepticism of truth itself - ironic considering he's meant to be rejecting the skepticism of the Cartesians. He discards the concept of the self, the process of induction, much of mathematics, miracles, God, truth really. He himself clearly begins questioning his destructive attitude in the conclusion here: "Methinks I am like a man, who having struck on many shoals, and having narrowly escaped shipwreck in passing a small firth, has yet temerity to put out to sea in the same leaky weather-beaten vessel". That is not the talk of a confident philosophical architect.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Harvey Butler

    He has the most boring writing style of all time

  9. 5 out of 5

    Josh Abbey

    Are you even a Humean if you don’t review the Treatise higher than the Enquiry?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nichomachus Nichomachus

    Brilliant piece!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Softmints

    SHUT UP!!!! SHUT UP!!!! SHUT UP!!!!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andalee

    Interesting viewpoints of the self and the ideas of what drives a human being.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Water Wynd

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sabhyata

  15. 4 out of 5

    nisie draws

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brigitte

  17. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Desmet

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Fricke

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chandler Cole

  20. 4 out of 5

    Will Pettitt

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vilius

  22. 4 out of 5

    Allie Reichert

  23. 4 out of 5

    Peculiar

  24. 4 out of 5

    Guillermo Fernandez

  25. 4 out of 5

    W Wayne Elliott II

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrew C

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Jean

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rijk Willemse

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vectis

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