A Treatise of Human Nature
Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects
  • Publication Date: July 22, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781554811175 / 1554811171
  • 522 pages; 6" x 9"

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A Treatise of Human Nature

Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects

  • Publication Date: July 22, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781554811175 / 1554811171
  • 522 pages; 6" x 9"

In his autobiography, David Hume famously noted that A Treatise of Human Nature “fell dead-born from the press.” Yet it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophical works written in the English language. Within, Hume offers an empirically informed account of human nature, addressing a range of topics such as space, time, causality, the external world, personal identity, passions, freedom, necessity, virtue, and vice. This edition includes not only the full text of the Treatise but also Hume’s summarizing Abstract, as well as selections drawn from critical book reviews which showcase the work’s reception in Hume’s own time. Angela Coventry’s expert introduction and annotations serve to contextualize the book’s themes and arguments for modern readers.


“This is a splendid edition of A Treatise of Human Nature, perfect for both the scholar and the student. Most impressive is editor Angela Coventry’s introduction, which includes information about David Hume’s life and works and provides the most thorough short summary of the Treatise with which I am familiar. In many Treatise editions the text feels crowded, but this one makes for a comfortable read, with standard numbers indicating book, part, section, and paragraph included on each page for ease of reference.” — Joe Campbell, Washington State University

“This edition of the Treatise does two things particularly well. First, it gives an accessible and helpful overview of the work that does a great job of outlining for the new reader how the varied topics of the Treatise hang together as a whole. Second, it gives the reader a sense of the reception of these ideas, both in Hume’s time and in contemporary discourse. These successes make this edition very attractive as a text for the classroom, and the additional inclusion of historical reviews should make it appealing to Hume scholars as well.” — Katharina Paxman, Brigham Young University

“Angela Coventry has in many ways produced the definitive edition of Hume’s classic text. While previous editions have overwhelmed the reader with editorial annotations, Coventry presents the Treatise as it was meant to be read. The inclusion of contemporaneous reviews of Hume’s work only enhances the reader’s experience of stepping into the world in which it was published.” — Getty Lustila, Northeastern University

David Hume: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Texts

A Treatise of Human Nature

  • Book 1: Of the Understanding
    • Introduction
    • Part 1: Of Ideas, Their Origin, Composition, Connexion, Abstraction, &c.
    • Part 2: Of the Ideas of Space and Time
    • Part 3: Of Knowledge and Probability
    • Part 4: Of the Sceptical and Other Systems of Philosophy
  • Book 2: Of the Passions
    • Part 1: Of Pride and Humility
    • Part 2: Of Love and Hatred
    • Part 3: Of the Will and Direct Passions
  • Book 3: Of Morals
    • Part 1: Of Virtue and Vice in General
    • Part 2: Of Justice and Injustice
    • Part 3: Of the Other Virtues and Vices
  • Appendix to the Treatise

Appendix A: The Abstract of the Treatise (1740)

Appendix B: From Review of Hume’s Treatise, History of the Works of the Learned (1739)

Appendix C: The French Book Reviews of Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (1740–41)

Works Cited and Select Bibliography

Index of Subjects
Index of Names, Places, and Works

Angela Coventry is Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University and author of Hume’s Theory of Causation: A Quasi-Realist Interpretation and Hume: A Guide for the Perplexed. She has served as Vice President of the Hume Society and as co-editor of the journal Hume Studies.

  • • The full text of Hume’s three-volume Treatise, with contextualizing annotations.
  • • Numbering (by Book, Part, Section, and Paragraph) has been added, for ease of reference.
  • • Includes Hume’s subsequent Abstract, summarizing the book’s arguments.
  • • Also includes a selection of contemporaneous reviews illustrating the book’s critical reception.