Essays: Moral, Political and Literary

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Cosimo, Inc., 01.12.2007 - 628 Seiten
As part of the tried and true model of informal essay writing, Hume began publishing his Essays: Moral, Political and Literary in 1741. The majority of these finely honed treatises fall into three distinct areas: political theory, economic theory and aesthetic theory. Interestingly, Hume's was motivated to produce a collection of informal essays given the poor public reception of his more formally written Treatise of Human Nature in 1739. He hoped that his work would be interesting not only to the educated man, but to the common man as well. He passionately argues that essays provide a forum for discussing his philosophy of "common life." DAVID HUME (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher and historian. Educated at Edinburgh, he lived in France from 1734 to 1737, where he finished his first philosophical work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40). His additional philosophical works include An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748), Political Discourses (1752), The Natural History of Religion (1755), and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779).

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Inhalt

I
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II
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III
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IV
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V
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VI
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VII
40
VIII
48
XXIV
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XXV
257
XXVI
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XXVII
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XXVIII
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XXIX
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XXX
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XXXI
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XXI
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XXXII
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XXXVI
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XXXVII
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XXXVIII
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XXXIX
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XL
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XLI
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XLII
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Seite 234 - One person may even perceive deformity, where another is sensible of beauty; and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment, without pretending to regulate those of others.
Seite 615 - I was, I say, a man of mild disposition, of command of temper, of an open, social, and cheerful humour, capable of attachment, but little susceptible of enmity and of great moderation in all my passions. Even my love of literary fame, my ruling passion, never soured my temper, notwithstanding my frequent disappointments.
Seite 40 - POLITICAL writers have established it as a maxim, that, in contriving any system of government, and fixing the several checks and controls of the constitution, every man ought to be supposed a knave, and to have no other end, in all his actions, than private interest.
Seite 203 - I mean those qualities of the air and climate, which are supposed to work insensibly on the temper, by altering the tone and habit of the body, and giving a particular complexion, which, though reflection and reason may sometimes overcome it, will yet prevail among the generality of mankind, and have an influence on their manners.
Seite 125 - To balance a large state or society [says he], whether monarchical or republican, on general laws, is a work of so great difficulty, that no human genius, however comprehensive, is able, by the mere dint of reason and reflection, to effect it. The judgments of many must unite in the work; experience must guide their labor; time must bring it to perfection, and the feeling of inconveniences must correct the mistakes which they inevitably fall into in their first trials and experiments...
Seite 234 - All sentiment is right; because sentiment has a reference to nothing beyond itself, and is always real, wherever a man is conscious of it. But all determinations of the understanding are not right, because they have a reference to something beyond themselves, — to wit, real matter of fact, and are not always conformable to that standard.
Seite 298 - It seems a maxim almost self-evident, that the prices of every thing depend on the proportion between commodities and money, and that any considerable alteration on either has the same effect, either of heightening or lowering the price.
Seite 135 - Honour's a sacred tie, the law of kings, The noble mind's distinguishing perfection, That aids and strengthens virtue where it meets her, And imitates her actions where she is not, It ought not to be sported with.
Seite 278 - The more these refined arts advance, the more sociable men become: nor is it possible, that, when enriched with science, and possessed of a fund of conversation, they should be contented to remain in solitude, or live with their fellow-citizens in that distant manner, which is peculiar to ignorant and barbarous nations. They flock into cities; love to receive and communicate knowledge; to show their wit or their breeding; their taste in conversation or living, in clothes or furniture.

Über den Autor (2007)

David Hume was born in Edinburgh to a minor Scottish noble family, raised at the estate of Ninewells, and attended the University of Edinburgh for two years until he was 15. Although his family wished him to study law, he found himself unsuited to this. He studied at home, tried business briefly, and after receiving a small inheritance traveled to France, settling at La Fleche, where Descartes had gone to school. There he completed his first and major philosophical work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739--40), published in three volumes. Hume claimed on the title page that he was introducing the experimental method of reasoning into moral subjects, and further that he was offering a new way of seeing the limits of human knowledge. Although his work was largely ignored, Hume gained from it a reputation as a philosophical skeptic and an opponent of traditional religion. (In later years he was called "the great infidel.") This reputation led to his being rejected for professorships at both Edinburgh and Glasgow. To earn his living he served variously as the secretary to General St. Clair, as the attendant to the mad Marquis of Annandale, and as the keeper of the Advocates Library in Edinburgh. While holding these positions, he wrote and published a new version of his philosophy, the two Enquiries, and many essays on social, political, moral, and literary subjects. He also began his six-volume History of England from the Roman Invasion to the Glorious Revolution (1754--62), the work that made him most famous in his lifetime. Hume retired from public life and settled in Edinburgh, where he was the leading figure in Scottish letters and a good friend to many of the leading intellectuals of the time, including Adam Smith and Benjamin Franklin. During this period, he completed the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, which he had been working on for more than 25 years. Hume first worked on the Dialogues in the middle of his career, but put them aside as too provocative. In his last years he finished them and they were published posthumously in 1779. They are probably his best literary effort and have been the basis for continuous discussion and debate among philosophers of religion. Toward the end of Hume's life, his philosophical work began to be taken seriously, and the skeptical problems he had raised were tackled by philosophers in Scotland, France, and finally Germany, where Kant claimed that Hume had awakened him from his dogmatic slumbers. Hume was one of the most influential philosophers of modern times, both as a positive force on skeptical and empirical thinkers and as a philosopher to be refuted by others. Interpreters are still arguing about whether he should be seen as a complete skeptic, a partial skeptic, a precursor of logical positivism, or even a secret believer.

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