About this topic
Summary Hume's ethics emphasizes our common humanity and our capacity to develop moral sensibilities in response to varying circumstances. He argues that moral distinctions arise from our sympathizing with the effects of character traits on those who have them and the people they interact with. The resulting judgments can have intersubjective validity both because they are rooted in common human nature, and because we can correct our sentimental responses by taking up a "general point of view" in place of a more partial perspective. Hume's aesthetics and politics also reflect the idea that corrected and cultivated passions provide a basis for sound normative judgments. He argues that discerning critics can provide a standard of taste, and that such taste is a significant aspect of human life and character. Although various political parties have claimed him as a supporter, Hume contends that philosophers should be unpartisan. He argues against both Lockean and Hobbesian contract theories and limits the right to resist sovereigns to extreme cases.
Key works

Hume's Treatise of Human Nature contains his initial exposition of his theory of the passions and morals. He later published an edited account of the former in A Dissertation on the Passions. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals is Hume's mature statement of his moral theory and the work that he believed to be his best. Although the above works include some material relevant to his aesthetics and political philosophy, the Essays, Moral, Political and Literary contain lengthier discussions of these aspects of Hume's thought. Also relevant, particularly to Hume's political views, is his History of England. The Clarendon Press has published critical editions of the Treatise (Norton & Norton 2007), the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (Beauchamp 1998), and the Dissertation on the Passions (together with The Natural History of Religion) (Hume 2007). Liberty Fund offers editions of both the Essays (Miller 1987) and History of England (Todd 1983).

Introductions Norton & Taylor 2008 and Radcliffe 2008 include many helpful articles that could serve as introductions to Hume's ethics, aesthetics, and social and political philosophy. Lists of the many book-length treatments of Hume's ethics and politics are available online at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Zalta 2004, open-access) and The Routledge Encylopedia of Philosophy (Craig 1996, subscription required). Townsend 2001 is notable as a comprehensive study of Hume's aesthetics. Ardal 1966 is a classic treatment of Hume's theory of the passions.
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  1. How Wide Is Hume’s Circle?Annette C. Baier - 2006 - Hume Studies 32 (1):113-117.
  2. Morality as a Back-Up System: Hume's View?Marcia Baron - 1988 - Hume Studies 14 (1):25-52.
  3. Slaves of the Passions. [REVIEW]Melissa Barry - 2010 - Hume Studies 36 (2):225-228.
  4. Thinking in Time in Hume’s Essays.Scott Black - 2010 - Hume Studies 36 (1):3-23.
    This essay treats the final version of Hume’s Essays, Volume 1, as an artfully shaped whole. Framed by essays on taste that address the interaction of personal and social dynamics, the volume is organized into loose clusters of political and moral essays that share a common pattern of offering multiple approaches to the issues they examine and pursuing a given idea until it reaches a point of excess that generates a salutary correction. This activity circumscribes an inexact range of balance, (...)
  5. Hume’s Morality: Feeling and Fabrication. [REVIEW]Sophie Botros - 2008 - Hume Studies 34 (2):289-292.
  6. The Clarendon Edition of Hume’s Treatise: Book 1.John Bricke - 2007 - Hume Studies 33 (2):297-304.
  7. Early Responses to Hume, Vols. 1 and 2: Early Responses to Hume’s Moral, Literary, and Political Writings. [REVIEW]Charlotte Brown - 2007 - Hume Studies 33 (1):196-208.
  8. Knud Haakonssen, Ed. The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Philosophy. [REVIEW]Stephen Buckle - 2014 - Hume Studies 40 (2):305-309.
  9. Projection and Realism in Hume’s Philosophy. [REVIEW]Stephen Buckle - 2008 - Hume Studies 34 (1):163-165.
  10. Hume’s Moral Sentiments As Motives.Rachel Cohon - 2010 - Hume Studies 36 (2):193-213.
    Do the moral sentiments move us to act, according to Hume? And if so, how? Hume famously deploys the claim that moral evaluations move us to act to show that they are not derived from reason alone. Presumably, moral evaluations move us because they are, or are the product of, moral sentiments. So, it would seem that moral approval and disapproval are or produce motives to action. This raises three interconnected interpretive questions. First, on Hume’s account, we are moved to (...)
  11. A Very Brief Summary of Hume’s Morality: Feeling and Fabrication.Rachel Cohon - 2008 - Hume Studies 34 (2):253-256.
  12. Hume’s Difficulty with the Virtue of Honesty.Rachel Cohon - 1997 - Hume Studies 23 (1):91-112.
  13. Critical Review of Recent Introductory Works on Hume. [REVIEW]Angela Coventry - 2010 - Hume Studies 36 (2):215-223.
  14. Hume's Hobbism and His Anti-Hobbism.Daniel E. Flage - 1992 - Hume Studies 18 (2):369-382.
  15. Of Liberty and Necessity: The Free Will Debate in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy. [REVIEW]A. E. Pitson - 2006 - Hume Studies 32 (1):187-191.
  16. Projectionism, Realism, and Hume's Moral Sense Theory.A. E. Pitson - 1989 - Hume Studies 15 (1):61-92.
  17. Terence Penelhum: Themes in Hume: The Self, The Will, Religion.A. Flew - 2001 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 9 (2):374-376.
  18. Passion and Value in Hume's Treatise. [REVIEW]Antony Flew - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (9):257-260.
  19. The Concept of Taste in Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetic Theory.Timothy P. Foley - 1981
  20. Hume's Sceptical Enlightenment by Ryu Susato.Peter S. Fosl - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (1):165-166.
    This rich and detailed volume reads David Hume as a skeptic, but Susato is less interested in dissecting Hume’s particular skeptical arguments and more concerned with what he regards as Hume’s larger skeptical vision as it relates to his social and political thought. Susato argues against the idea that Hume’s historical work is independent of his philosophical skepticism; and he opposes the idea that Hume ought best to be read as a conservative thinker. Broadly speaking, the question Susato addresses is (...)
  21. The Genesis of Disinterested Benevolence.Paul Friedmann - 1878 - Mind 3 (11):404-410.
  22. Jane Austen and Eighteenth-Century Courtesy Books.Penelope Joan Fritzer - 1997
  23. Associative Virtues and Hume's Narrow Circle.Erin Frykholm - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1):612-637.
    This article offers a straightforward reading of Hume's ‘narrow circle’ – the boundary employed to define those with whom we sympathize in assessing an agent's moral character – that follows from a more careful look at his account of virtue. Hume employs a principle that can be understood as a virtue ethical equivalent of associative obligation, which thereby delimits the boundaries of this circle. This reading avoids concerns about unjustified partiality, moral blind spots, and demandingness, and shows a clear path (...)
  24. Narrative and History in Hume's Moral Epistemology.Erin Frykholm - 2016 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1):21-50.
    Hume's moral epistemology, focusing on the elevation of character tratis, requires what in contemporary terms is a narrative structure. The moral significance of an action can only be understood when considered in relation to an agent's past actions, beliefs, intentions, social environment and situation. Three features of Hume's writings support this claim: his accounts of moral evidence, of the object of moral evaluation, and of the value of history. Without recognizing the role of narrative, the standard view of Hume's moral (...)
  25. Lies, Passions, and Illusions: The Democratic Imagination in the Twentieth Century.François Furet, Christophe Prochasson & Deborah Furet (eds.) - 2014 - University of Chicago Press.
    Shortly after his death in 1997, the New York Review of Books called him “one of the most influential men in contemporary France.” Lies, Passions, and Illusions is a fitting capstone to this celebrated author’s oeuvre: a late-career ...
  26. 'Des Sentiments Si Nôtres': Stylisation and Dramatisation in the Bucoliques of André Chénier.D. R. Gamble - 2002 - Lumen: Selected Proceedings From the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 21:131.
  27. A Panoramic Overview of British Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics.Montserrat Martínez García - 2013 - Cultura 10 (2):93-112.
    The aim of this paper is not to focus on a particular thematic issue of Aesthetics, offering an exhaustive approach of it, but to display a broader map allowingto capture the essence of this topic from an overall perspective. To achieve it, I have paid attention to a number of points that will help to place Aesthetics in historical terms in the context of 18th century Great Britain. In this vein, I have addressed certain pillars deemed crucial in understanding Aesthetics, (...)
  28. The Routledge Companion to Eighteenth Century Philosophy.Aaron Garrett (ed.) - 2014 - Routledge.
    The Eighteenth century is one of the most important periods in the history of Western philosophy, witnessing philosophical, scientific, and social and political change on a vast scale. In spite of this, there are few single volume overviews of the philosophy of the period as a whole. _The Routledge Companion to Eighteenth Century Philosophy _is an authoritative survey and assessment of this momentous period, covering major thinkers, topics and movements in Eighteenth century philosophy. Beginning with a substantial introduction by Aaron (...)
  29. Hume as Man of Reason and Woman's Philosopher.Don Garrett - 2004 - In Lilli Alanen & Charlotte Witt (eds.), Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 171.
  30. Mind and Morality: An Examination of Hume's Moral Psychology.Don Garrett & John Bricke - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (1):132.
  31. Excerpt From Morals by Agreement.David Gauthier - unknown
    'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.'l But if things considered in themselves are neither good nor bad, if there is no realm of value existing independently of animate beings and their activities, then thought is not the activity that summons value into being. Hume reminds us, 'Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions', and while Hume's dictum has been widely disputed, we shall defend it.2 Desire, not thought, and volition, (...)
  32. Moral Artifice.David Gauthier - 1988 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):385 - 418.
  33. Hume on Curiosity.Axel Gelfert - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (4):711-732.
    Hume concludes Book II of his Treatise of Human Nature with a section on the passion of curiosity, ‘that love of truth, which was the first source of all our enquiries’. At first sight, this characterisation of curiosity – as the motivating factor in that specifically human activity that is the pursuit of knowledge – may seem unoriginal. However, when Hume speaks of the ‘source of all our enquiries’, he is referring both to the universal human pursuit of knowledge and (...)
  34. Passioni, ragione e motivazione nel Trattato di Hume.Massimo Giani - 2005 - Annali Del Dipartimento di Filosofia 11:181-226.
    According to some critics, Hume cannot be considered a ‘humean’. In this paper arguments are presented to show that Hume, in the Treatise, supports the fundamental assumptions of a ‘humean’ theory of motivation, but doesn’t maintain a desirebased theory of justifying reasons. This doesn’t imply he’s a skeptic about practical reason. Trough the development of an original theory of ‘calm’ and ‘violent’ passions, Hume provides a naturalistic account of the origin and motivational influence of normative reasons.
  35. A Humean Account of Moral Pluralism.Michael B. Gill - 2012 - Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica 25 (3):571-588.
  36. Humean Moral Pluralism.Michael B. Gill - 2011 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 28 (1):45.
    Michael B. Gill offers a new account of Humean moral pluralism: the view that there are different moral reasons for action, which are based on human sentiments. He explores its historical origins, and argues that it offers the most compelling view of our moral experience. Together, pluralism and Humeanism make a philosophically powerful couple.
  37. A Philosopher in His Closet: Reflexivity and Justification in Hume's Moral Theory.Michael B. Gill - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):231 - 255.
  38. Fantastick Associations and Addictive General Rules: A Fundamental Difference Between Hutcheson and Hume.Michael B. Gill - 1996 - Hume Studies 22 (1):23-48.
  39. Human Nature and the Accessibility of Morality in Cudworth, Hutcheson, and Hume.Michael B. Gill - 1995 - Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Impressed by morality's internal accessibility and motivational force, philosophers from the Greeks to the present day have advanced the view that moral distinctions originate in human nature. Every incarnation of this view, however, has had to face one central question: what is it about human nature that justifies some moral judgments and not others? This dissertation charts the rise and fall of one approach to that question, that contained in the works of the British moralists of the late seventeenth and (...)
  40. Index to Volume 37.Michael B. Gill, Humean Sentimentalism & Non-Consequentialist Moral - 2011 - Hume Studies 37 (2):295-295.
  41. The Literary Structure and Strategy of Hume’s Essay on the Standard of Taste.Robert Ginsberg - 1987 - In Ginsberg (ed.), The Philosopher as Writer: The Eighteenth Century.
  42. Hume's Theory of the Passions and of Morals a Study of Books Ii and Iii of the "Treatise.".Alfred Bouligny Glathe - 1950 - University of California Press.
  43. Izazov skepticizma: Utjecaj Humeove metafizike i moralne filozofije u Europi 18. stoljeca [The Challenge of Skepticism: The Influence of Hume's Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy in 18th-Century Europe].Matko Globačnik - 2016 - Zagreb, Croatia: Croatian Philosophical Society.
    Summary, page 467: "This book is concerned with the influence of Hume’s metaphysics and moral philosophy in 18th-century Europe and it is divided into two main parts. The first part is focused on the exposition of Hume’s metaphysics and moral philosophy in their historical context, because this topic is still mostly unknown in Croatia. The second part deals with the influence of Hume’s metaphysics and moral philosophy on selected European thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment until the beginning of the (...)
  44. On Understanding the Ethics of David Hume.R. J. Glossop - 1973 - Rivista di Filosofia 64 (3):257.
  45. David Hume.Ronald J. Glossop - 1976 - International Studies in Philosophy 8:242-244.
  46. Hume's Rejection of "Ought".Ronald J. Glossop - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (14):451-453.
  47. The Nature of Hume's Ethics.Ronald J. Glossop - 1967 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 27 (4):527-536.
  48. Le Sentiment Et la Pensée Et Leurs Principaux Aspects Physiologiques.André Godfernaux - 1894 - The Monist 5:432.
  49. New Essays on David Hume. [REVIEW]Catalina González - 2009 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (3):pp. 473-474.
    Organized by the Italian Research Group on the British Enlightenment, this collection provides insight into the many different aspects of David Hume's philosophy. The book comprises a total of twenty-one articles that take diverse approaches to Hume's epistemology, morals, politics, history, and religion, and is divided into four sections: "Of the understanding," "Of morals and criticism," "Of history, politics and religion," and "Hume novelties." Due to limitations of space, all the articles cannot be addressed here; I will instead discuss those (...)
  50. Marriage, Property & Romance in Jane Austen's Novels.F. G. Gornall - 1967 - Hibbert Journal 65 (59):151-56.
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