In his concise Introduction, Eric Steinberg explores the conditions that led Hume to write the Enquiry and the work's important relationship to Book I of Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature.
Nor is there required such profound knowledge to discover the present imperfect condition of the sciences, but even the rabble without doors may, judge from the noise and clamour, which they hear, that all goes not well within. There is nothing which is not the subject of debate, and in which men of learning are not of contrary opinions. The most trivial question escapes not our controversy, and in the most momentous we are not able to give any certain decision. Disputes are multiplied, as if every thing was uncertain; and these disputes are managed with the greatest warmth, as if every thing was certain. Amidst all this bustle it is not reason, which carries the prize, but eloquence; and no man needs ever despair of gaining proselytes to the most extravagant hypothesis, who has art enough to represent it in any favourable colours. The victory is not gained by the men at arms, who manage the pike and the sword; but by the trumpeters, drummers, and musicians of the army....
The introduction to this edition discusses the Enquiry’s origin, evolution, and critical reception, while appendices provide examples of contemporary responses to Hume.
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The argument of the Enquiry proceeds by a series of incremental steps, separated into chapters which logically succeed one another. After expounding his epistemology, Hume explains how to apply his principles to specific topics.
I. Of the Different Species of Philosophy
II. Of the Origin of Ideas
III. Of the Association of Ideas
IV. Sceptical Doubts Concerning the Operations of the Understanding
V. Sceptical Solution of these Doubts
VI. Of Probability
VII. Of the Idea of Necessary Connexion
VIII. Of Liberty and Necessity
IX. Of the Reason of Animals
X. Of Miracles
XI. Of a Particular Providence and of a Future State
XII. Of the Academical or Sceptical Philosophy
Having been accused of heresy during his lifetime, Hume knew not to publish this book until after his death, so he bequeathed the manuscript, a few days before his death, to his printer, but if the printer didn't publish it within 2 years, the manuscript would go to Hume's nephew, also named David Hume, which it did and the nephew did publish it.
One of the oldest and most popular arguments for the existence of God is the design argument, that order and "purpose" in the world must be proof of a divine origin: Where one sees a watch, one may infer the existence of the watchmaker.Here Philo, Cleanthes, and Demea volley their arguments back and forth. Cleanthes advocates for the existence of God based upon observed design in the world, Philo counters that argument, and Demea represents rigid orthodoxy. The dialogues continue for a total of 12 parts, exploring many ideas such as that there may be more than one supreme God, that our universe may have been spawned without a creator from an older one as a plant procreates by spreading its seeds, and other questions about the natural world and the concept of the Deity.
Scholars disagree regarding which character most closely represents Hume's own voice in the dialogues, but most say that Philo speaks for Hume.The Dialogues and Hume's other philosophical writings about the nature of "knowing" would lead one to a conclusion that Hume was an agnostic, not an atheist.
In the introduction, as a letter from Pamphilus to Hermippus, Hume explains his choice of the dialogue as the style for this presentation: "Any question of philosophy ... which is so OBSCURE and UNCERTAIN, that human reason can reach no fixed determination with regard to it; if it should be treated at all, seems to lead us naturally into the style of dialogue and conversation. Reasonable men may be allowed to differ, where no one can reasonably be positive. Opposite sentiments, even without any decision, afford an agreeable amusement; and if the subject be curious and interesting, the book carries us, in a manner, into company; and unites the two greatest and purest pleasures of human life, study and society."
Open this eBook and you will find yourself in Cleanthes' library alongside Pamphilus, the pupil of Cleanthes, as he silently audits these dialogues concerning natural religion among Cleanthes, the precise philosopher, Philo, the sceptic, and Demea, the inflexibly orthodox believer.
Images of the actual hand-written manuscript and editorial notes about this and all of Hume's published writings are available at the website http://www.davidhume.org/.
(Sources: Wikipedia and www.davidhume.org, which is a website created and maintained by Amyas Merivale, University of Leeds, and Peter Millican, Hertford College, University of Oxford.)
* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Hume’s life and works
* Concise introductions to the novels and other texts
* All the essays and treatises, with individual contents tables
* Includes rare essays appearing for the first time in digital publishing
* Images of how the books were first published, giving your eReader a taste of the original texts
* Excellent formatting of the texts
* Includes Hume’s letters
* Features two biographies - discover Hume’s intriguing life
* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres
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A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
AN ABSTRACT OF A BOOK LATELY PUBLISHED ENTITLED A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE ETC.
ESSAYS, MORAL, POLITICAL, AND LITERARY
A LETTER FROM A GENTLEMAN TO HIS FRIEND IN EDINBURGH
AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
A TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE BEHAVIOURS AND CONDUCT OF ARCHIBALD STEWART
AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALS
LETTER TO THE AUTHOR OF THE DELINEATION OF THE NATURE AND OBLIGATION OF MORALITY
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND
DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
MY OWN LIFE
LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE OF DAVID HUME by John Hill Burton
BRIEF BIOGRAPHY: DAVID HUME by John Malcolm Mitchell
Please visit www.delphiclassics.com to browse through our range of exciting titles or to purchase this eBook as a Parts Edition of individual eBooks
This classic examines its controversial subject in the well-known manner of the Platonic dialogues. Hume's characters discuss God's existence, his divinity and attributes, and the reasons behind his creation of the world. In clear, evocative prose, the debate's participants state and defend their positions, most of which center on the concept currently known as Intelligent Design. Hume's intense skepticism provides ingenious, persuasive refutations of the notion that reason and logic provide support for religious dogma. A work of historical importance as well as of ongoing relevance to modern life, this volume endures as both an inspiring philosophical inquiry and a literary gem.