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A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning Into Mor (Penguin Classics)

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One of the most significant works of Western philosophy, Hume's Treatise was published in 1739-40, before he was thirty years old. A pinnacle of English empiricism, it is a comprehensive attempt to apply scientific methods of observation to a study of human nature, and a vigorous attack upon the principles of traditional metaphysical thought. With masterly eloquence, Hume denies the immortality of the soul and the reality of space; considers the manner in which we form concepts of identity, cause and effect; and speculates upon the nature of freedom, virtue and emotion. Opposed both to metaphysics and to rationalism, Hume's philosophy of informed scepticism sees man not as a religious creation, nor as a machine, but as a creature dominated by sentiment, passion and appetite.

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These new Oxford University Press editions have been meticulously collated from various exatant versions. Each text has an excellent introduction including an overview of Hume's thought and an account of his life and times. Even the difficult, and rarely commented-on, chapters on space and time are elucidated. There are also useful notes on the text and glossary. These scholarly new editions are ideally adapted for a whole range of readers, from beginners to experts. (Jane O'Grady, Catholic Herald,)

One of the greatest of all philosophical works, covering knowledge, imaginatio, emotion, morality and justice. Hume is down-to-earth, capable of putting other, pretentious philosophers down, but deeply sceptical even about his own reasoning. Baroness Warnock, The List, The Week

About the Author:

David hume (1711-76) devoted himself from early youth to 'philosophy and great learning'. A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40) was not well received on publication, but is now viewed as his masterpiece.


Ernest Campbell Mossner is the author of many books on Hume. He has received fellowships from Columbia, Guggenheim and Fulbright, and has held the post of Professor of English and Philosophy at the University of Texas.

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