Essays and Treatises on Philosophical Subjects
  • Publication Date: May 6, 2013
  • ISBN: 9781551118048 / 1551118041
  • 624 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Essays and Treatises on Philosophical Subjects

  • Publication Date: May 6, 2013
  • ISBN: 9781551118048 / 1551118041
  • 624 pages; 5½" x 8½"

This is the first edition in over a century to present David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Dissertation on the Passions, Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, and Natural History of Religion in the format he intended: collected together in a single volume. Hume has suffered a fate unusual among great philosophers. His principal philosophical work is no longer published in the form in which he intended it to be read. It has been divided into separate parts, only some of which continue to be published. This volume repairs that neglect by presenting the four pieces that Hume in later life desired to “alone be regarded as containing [his] philosophical sentiments and principles” in the format he preferred, as a single volume with an organization that parallels that of his early Treatise of Human Nature.

This edition’s introduction comments on the historical origins and evolution of the four parts and draws attention to how they mutually inform and support one another. The text is based on the first (1758) edition of Hume’s Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. Notes advise the reader of the changes made in the final (1777) edition. Excerpts from the work of some of Hume’s most important contemporary critics are included as appendices. Hume’s abundant references to ancient historians, geographers, poets, and philosophers—many of them now quite obscure—are rendered accessible in this volume through extensive textual notes and a bibliography of online sources.


“Falkenstein and McArthur are to be commended for giving us a modern edition of the philosophical texts that Hume collected as the second volume of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. We have for a very long time been working with these writings as self-standing pieces rather than collected within a single volume as Hume himself intended. Restoring these writings in this context is an excellent idea and it will be interesting to see the extent to which this restoration changes our view of Hume. In addition, I found the introductory material to be extremely illuminating as well as lucid. This is an excellent edition and an excellent addition to Hume scholarship.” — Peter J.E. Kail, University of Oxford

“In bringing Hume’s mature philosophical works together in one volume as he himself intended them to be read, this edition makes vivid the interconnections among his writings, and will help students appreciate the considerable systematic appeal of Hume’s philosophy. This new edition will prove extremely useful for both scholars and students. The scholarly and bibliographic apparatus is excellent, and the magisterial introduction very effectively places Hume’s writings in their proper biographical and philosophical context.” — Thomas Holden, University of California, Santa Barbara

Preface and Acknowledgements
Abbreviations and References
David Hume: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Texts

Front Matter from the 1758 and 1777 Editions of Hume’s Essays and
Treatises on Several Subjects

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

  • Section 1 Of the different species of philosophy
    Section 2 Of the origin of ideas
    Section 3 Of the association of ideas
    Section 4 Sceptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding
    Section 5 Sceptical solution of these doubts
    Section 6 Of probability
    Section 7 Of the idea of necessary connexion
    Section 8 Of liberty and necessity
    Section 9 Of the reason of animals
    Section 10 Of miracles
    Section 11 Of a particular providence and of a future state
    Section 12 Of the academical or sceptical philosophy

A Dissertation on the Passions

An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals

  • Section 1 Of the general principles of morals
    Section 2 Of benevolence
    Section 3 Of justice
    Section 4 Of political society
    Section 5 Why utility pleases
    Section 6 Of qualities useful to ourselves
    Section 7 Of qualities immediately agreeable to ourselves
    Section 8 Of qualities immediately agreeable to others
    Section 9 Conclusion of the whole
    Appendix 1 Of moral sentiment
    [1777: Appendix 2 is Section 2 Part i of this Broadview
    Appendix 2 [1777: 3] Some farther considerations with regard to justice
    [1777: Appendix 4 is Section 6 Part i of this Broadview edition]
    A Dialogue

The Natural History of Religion

[1757: Letter of Dedication to John Home (Hume)]

  • Section 1 That polytheism was the primitive religion of men
    Section 2 Origin of polytheism
    Section 3 The same subject continued
    Section 4 Deities not considered as creators or formers of the world
    Section 5 Various forms of polytheism, allegory, hero-worship
    Section 6 Origin of theism from polytheism
    Section 7 Confirmation of this doctrine
    Section 8 Flux and reflux of polytheism and theism
    Section 9 Comparison of these religions with regard to persecution and toleration
    Section 10 With regard to courage or abasement
    Section 11 With regard to reason and absurdity
    Section 12 With regard to doubt or conviction
    Section 13 Impious conceptions of the divine nature in most
    popular religions of both kinds
    Section 14 Bad influence of most popular religions on
    Section 15 General corollary from the whole

Appendix A
From Richard Price, Four Dissertations (1768)

Appendix B
The Dissertation on the Passions and Treatise, Book 2

Appendix C
From Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)

Appendix D
From Henry Home, Lord Kames, Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion (1779)

Appendix E
From Thomas Reid, Essays on the Active Powers of Man (1788)

Appendix F
From Anonymous [Daniel MacQueen], Letters on Mr. Hume’s History of Great Britain (1756)

Appendix G
From Anonymous [William Warburton], Remarks on Mr. David Hume’s Essay on the Natural History of Religion (1757)

Select Bibliography
Hume’s Index to ETSS 2

Lorne Falkenstein is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario.

Neil McArthur is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Manitoba.