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David Hume (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
He set out for London towards the end of April, and at Morpeth met with Mr. John Home and myself, who had both come down from London on purpose to see him, expecting to have found him at Edinburgh. Mr. Home returned with him, and attended him during the whole of his stay in England, with that care and attention which might be expected from a temper so perfectly friendly and affectionate. As I had written to my mother that she might expect me in Scotland, I was under the necessity of continuing my journey. His disease seemed to yield to exercise and change of air, and when he arrived in London, he was apparently in much better health than when he left Edinburgh. He was advised to go to Bath to drink the waters, which appeared for some time to have so good an effect upon him, that even he himself began to entertain, what he was not apt to do, a better opinion of his own health. His symptoms, however, soon returned with their usual violence, and from that moment he gave up all thoughts of recovery, but submitted with the utmost cheerfulness, and the most perfect complacency and resignation. Upon his return to Edinburgh, though he found himself much weaker, yet his cheerfulness never abated, and he continued to divert himself, as usual, with correcting his own works for a new edition, with reading books of amusement, with the conversation of his friends; and, sometimes in the evening, with a party at his favourite game of whist. His cheerfulness was so great, and his conversation and amusements run so much in their usual strain, that, notwithstanding all bad symptoms, many people could not believe he was dying. "I shall tell your friend, Colonel Edmondstone," said Doctor Dundas to him one day, "that I left you much better, and in a fair way of recovery." "Doctor," said he, "as I believe you would not chuse to tell any thing but the truth, you had better tell him, that I am dying as fast as my enemies, if I have any, could wish, and as easily and cheerfully as my best friends could desire." Colonel Edmondstone soon afterwards came to see him, and take leave of him; and on his way home, he could not forbear writing him a letter bidding him once more an eternal adieu, and applying to him, as to a dying man, the beautiful French verses in which the Abbé Chaulieu, in expectation of his own death, laments his approaching separation from his friend, the Marquis de la Fare. Mr. Hume's magnanimity and firmness were such, that his most affectionate friends knew, that they hazarded nothing in talking or writing to him as to a dying man, and that so far from being hurt by this frankness, he was rather pleased and flattered by it. I happened to come into his room while he was reading this letter, which he had just received, and which he immediately showed me. I told him, that though I was sensible how very much he was weakened, and that appearances were in many respects very bad, yet his cheerfulness was still so great, the spirit of life seemed still to be so very strong in him, that I could not help entertaining some faint hopes. He answered, "Your hopes are groundless. An habitual diarrhoea of more than a year's standing, would be a very bad disease at any age: at my age it is a mortal one. When I lie down in the evening, I feel myself weaker than when I rose in the morning; and when I rise in the morning, weaker than when I lay down in the evening. I am sensible, besides, that some of my vital parts are affected, so that I must soon die." "Well," said I, "if it must be so, you have at least the satisfaction of leaving all your friends, your brother's family in particular, in great prosperity." He said that he felt that satisfaction so sensibly, that when he was reading a few days before, Lucian's Dialogues of the Dead, among all the excuses which are alleged to Charon for not entering readily into his boat, he could not find one that fitted him; he had no house to finish, he had no daughter to provide for, he had no enemies upon whom he wished to revenge himself. "I could not well imagine," said he, "what excuse I could make to Charon in order to obtain a little delay. I have done every thing of consequence which I ever meant to do, and I could at no time expect to leave my relations and friends in a better situation than that in which I am now likely to leave them; I, therefore, have all reason to die contented." He then diverted himself with inventing several jocular excuses, which he supposed he might make to Charon, and with imagining the very surly answers which it might suit the character of Charon to return to them. "Upon further consideration," said he, "I thought I might say to him, But Charon would answer, "When you have seen the effect of these, you will be for making other alterations. There will be no end of such excuses; so, honest friend, please step into the boat." But I might still urge, "Have a little patience, good Charon, I have been endeavouring to open the eyes of the Public. If I live a few years longer, I may have the satisfaction of seeing the downfal of some of the prevailing systems of superstition." But Charon would then lose all temper and decency. "You loitering rogue, that will not happen these many hundred years. Do you fancy I will grant you a lease for so long a term? Get into the boat this instant, you lazy loitering rogue."
The dilemma Philo has constructed encapsulates the issue about thecontent of the idea of God that is central to the criticalaspect of Hume's project in the Dialogues. If you acceptthat God's attributes are infinitely perfect, you are using ordinaryterms without their ordinary meaning, so that they do not have anyclear meaning. If you deny God's infinite perfection, you can give himunderstandable attributes, but only because they are amplified humancharacteristics. The closer Cleanthes comes to regarding God's mind aslike a human mind, the closer he comes to regarding God's attributesas being like human attributes, and the less Godlike his“God” is. We can only give the idea of God intelligiblecontent at the perilously high cost of denying that he is reallyGod. To do so is to abandon God for some kind of superhero.
Katherine Falconer Hume realized that David ..
Essays and treatises: on several subjects. By David Hume, Esq; In four volumes. ... (Hume, David, 1711-1776.) A new edition. 4v. ; 12⁰. (London :) printed for A. Millar; and A. Kincaid and A. Donaldson, at Edinburgh,1760.
Reproduction of original from the British Library.
English Short Title Catalog, ESTCT33490.
Electronic data. Farmington Hills, Mich. : Thomson Gale, 2003. Page image (PNG). Digitized image of the microfilm version produced in Woodbridge, CT by Research Publications, 1982-2002 (later known as Primary Source Microfilm, an imprint of the Gale Group).
The crisis eventually passed, and Hume remained intent on articulatinghis “new Scene of Thought”. As a second son, hisinheritance was meager, so he moved to France, where he could livecheaply, and finally settled in La Flèche, a sleepy village in Anjoubest known for its Jesuit college where Descartes and Mersenne hadstudied a century before. Here he read French and other continentalauthors, especially Malebranche, Dubos, and Bayle, and occasionallybaited the Jesuits with arguments attacking their beliefs. By thistime, Hume had not only rejected the religious beliefs with which hewas raised, but was also opposed to organized religion in general, anopposition that remained constant throughout his life. In 1734, whenhe was only 23, he began writing A Treatise of HumanNature.
David hume essays and treatises on several subjects
The fact that the was widely read can be deduced from the many quotations found in the French literature of the second half of the eighteenth century and a fortiori from the fact that the 1755 edition was followed by two further editions. The first of these is similar in format with smaller type, so that it comprises 432 pages (427 numbered) compared to the original 436 (430 numbered). The second occurs as a reprint in Volume Three of an anthology edited by Eleazar Mauvillon, father of the German Physiocrat Jakob Mauvillon, which is variously entitled "Discours Politiques," after Hume's "Political Discourses" in Volume One, or "Les Intérets de la France," after Goudar's tract in Volumes Four and Five. In addition, an Italian translation by F. Scottoni appeared in 1767.
Worse still, these metaphysical systems are smokescreens for“popular superstitions” that attempt to overwhelm us withreligious fears and prejudices (EHU 1.11/11). Hume has in mind avariety of doctrines that need metaphysical cover to lookrespectable—arguments for the existence of God, the immortalityof the soul, and the question of the nature of God's particularprovidence. Metaphysics aids and abets these and other superstitiousdoctrines.
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David hume essays and treatises meaning - …
I was born the 26th of April 1711, old style, at Edinburgh. I was of a good family, both by father and mother: my father's family is a branch of the Earl of Home's, or Hume's; and my ancestors had been proprietors of the estate, which my brother possesses, for several generations. My mother was daughter of Sir David Falconer, President of the College of Justice: the title of Lord Halkerton came by succession to her brother.
David hume essays and treatises and essays - …
My work on this edition of Hume's has served as a strong reminder that scholarship requires the support of institutions as well as individuals. My research on Hume has been aided and encouraged in many ways by the University of Georgia, especially by its libraries, which are directed by David Bishop, by the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, whose Dean is W. Jackson Payne, and by the Department of Political Science, which has been headed during the period of this research by Loren P. Beth and Frank J. Thompson. The Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago is a second institution to which I am deeply indebted. Many years ago, while a doctoral student under the Committee, I first studied Hume's writings in research that was guided by Friedrich A. Hayek, Leo Strauss, and Joseph Cropsey. The Committee on Social Thought, more than any academic program that I know of, has sought to recover the unity and comprehensiveness of human knowledge that was lost after Hume's time, with the division of learning into departments or disciplines. Finally, I owe a great debt to Liberty Fund for its willingness to sponsor a new edition of Hume's and to entrust me with its preparation. Liberty Fund's founder, Pierre F. Goodrich, maintained that a free society depends on free inquiry and that free inquiry depends, in turn, on the availability of reliable editions or translations of the great books, among which he included Hume's essays.
David hume essays and treatises and essays
In the Treatise, Hume qualifies his claim that our ideas arecopies of our impressions, making clear that it applies only to therelation between simple ideas and simpleimpressions. He offers this “general proposition”,usually called the Copy Principle, as his “firstprinciple … in the science of human nature”:
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