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