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David Hume - An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

David Hume - An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

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Published by: John Robert Priesmeyer on Jul 18, 2012
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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
The Project Gutenberg EBook of An Enquiry Concerning Human Understandingby David Hume et al Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws foryour country before downloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it.Do not change or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at thebottom of this file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the filemay be used. You can also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to getinvolved.
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**
**eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: An Enquiry Concerning Human UnderstandingAuthor: David Hume et alRelease Date: January, 2006 [EBook #9662] [This file was first posted on October 14, 2003]Edition: 10Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: iso-8859-1*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMANUNDERSTANDING ***E-text prepared by Jonathan Ingram and Project Gutenberg Distributed ProofreadersAN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING.BY DAVID HUMEExtracted from: Enquiries Concerning the Human Understanding, and Concerning the Principles of Morals,By David Hume.Reprinted from The Posthumous Edition of 1777, and Edited with Introduction, Comparative Tables of Contents, and Analytical Index by L.A. Selby-Bigge, M.A., Late Fellow of University College, Oxford.Second Edition, 1902CONTENTS
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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 orsceptical PhilosophyINDEXSECTION I.OF THE DIFFERENT SPECIES OF PHILOSOPHY.1. Moral philosophy, or the science of human nature, may be treated after two different manners; each of which has its peculiar merit, and may contribute to the entertainment, instruction, and reformation of mankind. The one considers man chiefly as born for action; and as influenced in his measures by taste andsentiment; pursuing one object, and avoiding another, according to the value which these objects seem topossess, and according to the light in which they present themselves. As virtue, of all objects, is allowed to bethe most valuable, this species of philosophers paint her in the most amiable colours; borrowing all helps frompoetry and eloquence, and treating their subject in an easy and obvious manner, and such as is best fitted toplease the imagination, and engage the affections. They select the most striking observations and instancesfrom common life; place opposite characters in a proper contrast; and alluring us into the paths of virtue bythe views of glory and happiness, direct our steps in these paths by the soundest precepts and most illustriousexamples. They make us
the difference between vice and virtue; they excite and regulate our sentiments;and so they can but bend our hearts to the love of probity and true honour, they think, that they have fullyattained the end of all their labours.2. The other species of philosophers consider man in the light of a reasonable rather than an active being, andendeavour to form his understanding more than cultivate his manners. They regard human nature as a subjectof speculation; and with a narrow scrutiny examine it, in order to find those principles, which regulate ourunderstanding, excite our sentiments, and make us approve or blame any particular object, action, orbehaviour. They think it a reproach to all literature, that philosophy should not yet have fixed, beyondcontroversy, the foundation of morals, reasoning, and criticism; and should for ever talk of truth andfalsehood, vice and virtue, beauty and deformity, without being able to determine the source of thesedistinctions. While they attempt this arduous task, they are deterred by no difficulties; but proceeding fromparticular instances to general principles, they still push on their enquiries to principles more general, and restnot satisfied till they arrive at those original principles, by which, in every science, all human curiosity mustbe bounded. Though their speculations seem abstract, and even unintelligible to common readers, they aim atthe approbation of the learned and the wise; and think themselves sufficiently compensated for the labour of their whole lives, if they can discover some hidden truths, which may contribute to the instruction of posterity.3. It is certain that the easy and obvious philosophy will always, with the generality of mankind, have thepreference above the accurate and abstruse; and by many will be recommended, not only as more agreeable,but more useful than the other. It enters more into common life; moulds the heart and affections; and, bytouching those principles which actuate men, reforms their conduct, and brings them nearer to that model of perfection which it describes. On the contrary, the abstruse philosophy, being founded on a turn of mind,which cannot enter into business and action, vanishes when the philosopher leaves the shade, and comes intoopen day; nor can its principles easily retain any influence over our conduct and behaviour. The feelings of our heart, the agitation of our passions, the vehemence of our affections, dissipate all its conclusions, andreduce the profound philosopher to a mere plebeian.4. This also must be confessed, that the most durable, as well as justest fame, has been acquired by the easyphilosophy, and that abstract reasoners seem hitherto to have enjoyed only a momentary reputation, from the
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