This book is a penetrating study of the theory of mind and morality that Hume developed in his Treatise of Human Nature and other writings. Hume rejects any conception of moral beliefs and moral truths. He understands morality in terms of distinctive desires and other sentiments that arise through the correction of sympathy. Hume's theory presents a powerful challenge to recent cognitivist theories of moral judgement, Bricke argues, and suggests significant limitations to recent conventionalist and contractarian accounts of morality's content.
One of the most striking facts about Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion is the fact that it has been subject to so many mutually contradictory interpretations. It is not, to be sure, unusual that a complex philosophical work be capable of a variety of interpretations. The case of the Dialogues is, however, surely an exceptional one, for the contradictory interpretations concern what is clearly the main subject of the book: the justifiability of world-hypotheses, and specifically the justifiability of the religious (...) world-hypothesis. According to some commentators, Hume's point in the Dialogues is that no world-hypothesis whatever is justifiable, perhaps none is even intelligible. According to others, Hume not only does not deny the possibility of a justified world-hypothesis, but actually proposes some particular hypothesis as the most reasonable one. Those who agree that Hume defends some world-hypothesis, however, differ radically about its content. For some, Hume's preferred hypothesis is that the explanation of order in the universe is a deity immanent in the universe. For others, Hume subscribes to a deity distinct from the universe whose order he explains, and possessing many, at least, of the traditional attributes of God, including wisdom, power, and benevolence. Still others hold that Hume's God, while distinct from the universe, possesses only the natural, not the moral, attributes traditionally assigned to him. Some commentators have even argued that Hume's purpose in the Dialogues is to employ scepticism in defence of religious faith. How, one must ask, is it possible that so many mutually contradictory interpretations have been proposed? How is this striking fact about the Dialogues to be explained? (shrink)
Don Garrett’s Hume constitutes a demanding introduction to the entirety of Hume’s philosophy as articulated in the Treatise, the two Enquiries, and the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Its goal is to provide a clear representation of the problems Hume addresses, the solutions he provides to those problems, and the arguments he constructs in so doing. Achieving its three goals remarkably well, Garrett’s Hume provides what, in my judgment, is the very best introduction to Hume’s philosophy available. It will be an (...) invaluable resource for students—undergraduate and graduate—encountering Hume’s work. It would prove accessible and illuminating for scholars in fields other than philosophy but interested in.. (shrink)
This seventh of the eight volumes in E. S. de Beer's superb edition of Locke's extant correspondence covers the period 27 January, 1700, through 14 May, 1703. Of the approximately 620 letters included, some 190 are from Locke. Of these almost two thirds are letters to his cousin and financial agent Peter King. The letters are in English, French, or Latin. Those in Latin are translated, quite ably, if with occasional misprints. The enormously helpful editorial materials of the first volume (...) are, of course, not repeated. But the editor does provide, economically and unobtrusively, a great deal of needed assistance of a textual, biographical, background, or cross-referential sort. (shrink)
Terence Penelhum is among the most distinguished of contemporary philosophical commentators on Hume. This welcome volume collects thirteen of his essays, three previously unpublished, on Hume’s theory of the self, moral psychology, and philosophy of religion. It displays the intelligence and sympathy, the historical astuteness and critical acumen, that have marked Penelhum’s writings on Hume for more than forty years.
Harrison offers a detailed philosophical commentary on each of the twelve sections of Treatise III, ii, and on most of the corresponding parts of the second Enquiry. Taking each Treatise section in turn he provides a concise summary of its contents followed by a series of numbered "Comments" of greatly varying length. Few issues that Hume raises go undiscussed. The discontinuities that result from this thoroughness are disorienting, but a helpful analytical table of contents is available.
In this paper I examine Hume's theory of the emotions, as presented in his *Treatise of Human Nature*, paying particular attention to what he has to say about the relationships between emotion and thought. I begin by presenting, in some detail, Hume's views about the nature of the emotions, their causes, and their objects. I then consider the bearing of the private language argument on Hume's theory, and try to show that it is not sufficient to reveal the weaknesses in (...) Hume's account of the connections between emotion and thought. Lastly, and most extensively, I attempt to show that Hume's account of these connectiosn is in fact unacceptable, and I argue that his basic mistake is that of construing emotions as sensations. Along the way I sketch in the outlines of what I take to be a more adequate theory of emotion and thought. (shrink)