Hume’s Nonreductionist Philosophical Anthropology

Review of Metaphysics 56 (3):587-603 (2003)
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Hume's *A Treatise of Human Nature* constitutes a philosophical anthropology quite different from a philosophy of (self-)consciousness or of the subject. According to Hume, the Self or Subject is itself a product of human nature, that is, of the workings of a structured set of principles which explains all typically human phenomena. On the same basis, Hume discusses all "moral" subjects, such as science, morality and politics (including economics), art and religion as well as the different reflections about all these such as philosophy, criticism, political theory, history, theology, and so forth. The Treatise therefore is the study of the (de facto) possibility conditions of what is (typically) human. The principles of human nature are not primarily reason, or free will and reason, but the heart, that is, a combination of principles concerning the imagination and the sensibility or the emotions, all of them irrevocably socially determined.



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