Full Text

31. Hume

PETER JONES


Subject Philosophy

People Hume, David

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631219088.2002.00036.x


Extract

David Hume was born in Edinburgh in 1711. He enrolled at the University of Edinburgh at the age of 11, and studied there for three, or possibly four, years. As was usual at the time, he left without graduating. After a brief study of the law, he embarked on a long and private study of philosophy. From 1734 until 1737 he lived in France and wrote A Treatise of Human Nature ( Hume 1978a ), which was published anonymously in 1739–40. In 1740, to boost disappointing sales of the book, Hume published an anonymous summary of its main theses. The document, now simply called the Abstract ( Hume 1978b ), emphasized precisely those tenets he chose to discuss when he later rewrote parts of the Treatise. Hume was over 40 years of age before he obtained his first full-time job. He had twice failed to become a professor of philosophy, in Edinburgh in 1745, and Glasgow in 1752. In 1741 and 1742 he had published two volumes of essays, under the title Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary ( Hume 1985a ), and thereafter rewrote parts of the first and third books of the Treatise ; these appeared in 1748 and 1751 and are now known as the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding ( Hume 1975b ), and the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals ( Hume 1975c ). In 1752 he published, under his own name, a very successful set of essays on political and economic topics, under the title Political ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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