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February 2019

Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

DavidHumeDialogues Concerning Natural Religion, by David Hume (1711-1776), was first published  in 1779. The choice of the dialogue form, modelled on Cicero, as well as its posthumous appearance, reflected the work's far reaching implications for contemporary religious authority.

The three central characters are Cleanthes, an 'experimental theist', typical of eighteenth century progressive theologians, Demea, a traditionalist mystic, and Philo, a radical sceptic, whose views are often taken to be closest to Hume's own. While there is some debate over whether Hume's position entailed strict athiesm, or allowed for some philsopophical conceptions of God such as deism, he is generally seen as hostile to organised religion.

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Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, edited by Henry D. Aitken (Hafner Library of Classics, 1948). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. HTML and other formats.

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Hume: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals

David_Hume_RamsayAn Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals is a 1751 work by David Hume, which developed the ethical philosophy first expounded in his Treatise on Human Nature. It is often known as as the Second Enquiry, to distinguish it from an Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.

While the classification of Hume's ethical position remains controversial, it can be described as sentamentalist, in rejecting the view that moral judgements can be founded on reason alone.

An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1912). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: An Enquiry into the Principles of Morals. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. HTML and other formats.

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Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Painting_of_David_HumeAn Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is a 1748 work by David Hume. It is often known as the First Enquiry, as distinguished from the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Human Morals. Both works provide succinct accounts of aspects of the philosophy originally developed in Hume's Treatise on Human Nature.

The opening sections of the Enquiry offer a theory of knowledge which owes much to Locke, while making a clearer distinction between sense impressions and ideas. Hume's more fundamental departure was his conclusion that there was no rational justification for our making judgements about the world based on cause and effect, and that we do so simply out of custom and habit.

In the latter part of the book, Hume applied his scepticism to a variety of metaphysical and religious beliefs, concluding however with a chapter recommending the approach of the more moderate Academic sceptics among the ancients, rather than that of the more radical Pyrrhonians.

He ends with a paragraph whose precise significance, as a criterion of truth or of meaningfulness, has been much debated by later analytic philosophers:

When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

A Enquiry Concering Human Understanding at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, and Selections from A Treatise of Human Nature (1907). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, with works by Locke and Berkeley. (Great Books of the Western World edition, 1937). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding. HTML and other formats.

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Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature

David_Hume_EsqrA Treatise of Human Nature, published in three books in 1739-40, was the first major philosophical work by David Hume, who famously said that it 'fell dead-born from the press', leading him to recast his ideas in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.

Hume's mature philosophy was nevertheless substantively that of the Treatise, which sought to put philosophy on an experimental basis like that of the physical sciences, rejecting metaphysical speculation as futile. It includes Hume's first account of his famous problem of induction, arguing that our belief in cause and effect is based on habit rather than rational justification. It was this sceptical attack which Kant later said ' first interrupted my dogmatic slumber and gave my investigations in the field of speculative philosophy a completely different direction.'

A Treatise of Human Nature at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: A Treatise of Human Nature, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: A Treatise of Human Nature. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: A Treatise of Human Nature Vol I | Vol II. Everyman's Library edition. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: A Treatise of Human Nature. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Treatise of Human Nature. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: David Hume. Melvyn Bragg with Peter Millican, Helen Beebee and James Harris.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: David Hume (1711-1776) - Hume on Causation.

Librivox - A Treatise of Human Nature, Vol I | Vol II - public domain audiobook.

PhilPapers: Hume - A Treatise of Human Nature - bibliography with open access option.

Philosophy Bites: Paul Russell on David Hume's Philosophy of Irreligion. Podcast with Nigel Warburton.

Physics Today: Albert Einstein to Moritz Schlick - comments on the influence of the Treatise on the theory of relativity.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: David Hume - Kant and Hume on Causality.

Wikipedia: David Hume - A Treatise of Human Nature.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

John Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.

Hume: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.

Kant: Critique of Pure Reason.

Kant: Prologomena to Any Future Metaphysics.


Vico: The New Science

GiambattistaVicoThe New Science (Italian: La Scienza Nuova) is a work by the Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico, originally published in 1725 and expanded in several later editions. It provides a history of civil society, interpreted, in opposition to contemporary Cartesian rationalism, through the principle of verum factum that what has been made by humans can be understood by humans.

Vico's account of human progress and his insight into the difference between ancient and modern ways of thinking has led many to credit him with being the first true philosopher of history.

The New Science at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Internet Archive: The New Science, translated by Thomas Goddard Bergin and Max Harodl Frisch (Cornell, 1948). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Italian text. HTML and other formats.

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Italian language resources

Resources for learning Italian.

Courses

Clozemaster Italian - Cloze text exercises.

Duolingo Italian for English Speakers

Memrise Italian - Flashcard site.

Texts

Italian Wikipedia

Italian Wikisource


Leibniz: The Theodicy

Leibniz_HannoverThe Theodicy (French: Essais de Théodicée) is a 1710 work by Leibniz on the nature of God and the problem of evil. The title taken from the Greek theos (God) and dike (justice), coined what became a general term for attempts to reconcile the existence of evil with a benevolent God. Leibniz's conclusion, that the actual world is the best of all possible worlds, was famously satirised by Voltaire.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: Theodicy, translated by E.M. Huggard. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Theodicy - Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil, translated by E.M. Huggard and Austin Farrer. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: French text (currently incomplete). HTML and other formats.

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Leibniz: The Monadology

Gottfried_Wilhelm_Leibniz _Bernhard_Christoph_FranckeThe Monadology (French: La Monadologie) is a short 1714 text by Leibniz outlining his metaphysics in ninety theses. Opposing the mind-body dualism of Descartes, Leibniz proposed a monistic idealist system in which the universe is made up of simple parts known as monads. These parts cannot directly affect each other. Rather reality is the result of a pre-established harmony between them.

The Monadology at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: Monadology, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Leibnitz' Monadologie. German text, multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Monadology and Other Philosophical Writings, translated by Robert Latta (1898). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Monadology, translated by Robert Latta. Multiple formats.

University of California, San Diego/Internet Archive: Monadology, translated by Robert Latta, revised by Donald Rutherford. HTML format.

University of Leeds/Internet Archive: Monadology, translated by George Macdonald Ross (1999). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: French text and multiple translations. HTML and other formats.

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Leibniz: New Essays on Human Understanding

Gottfried_Wilhelm_Leibniz_c1700The New Essays on Human Understanding (French: Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain) by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, is a response to Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, originally completed in French in 1704, but withheld from publication after Locke's death until 1765. 

The New Essays provide a detailed critique of Locke's work in dialogue form, with one speaker Philalethes, defending Locke's position and a second, Theophilus, presenting Leibniz's own views, including a strong defence of the rationalist doctrine of innate ideas.

New Essays on Human Understanding at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: New Essays on Human Understanding, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Internet Archive: New Essays Concerning Human Understanding. English translation (1916). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: French text. HTML and other formats.

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John Locke: Two Treatises of Government

Embarquement_de_Guillaume_d'Orange_pour_l'Angleterre_en_1688The Two Treatises of Government by John Locke are seminal works in the history of the liberal tradition, originally published in the aftermath of England's Whig revolution of 1688, with which Locke was intimately involved, though written some years earlier.

The First Treatise attacks the doctrine of the divine right of kings, defended by Anglican theologians such as Sir Robert Filmer, an important bulwark of the legitimacy of the Stuart monarchs.

The Second Treatise offers Locke's positive political theory, putting forward a social contract argument, which unlike that of Hobbes, provides a basis for limited representative government. If this Locke's key significance for his admirers, his critics point to his theory of property, which allows for slavery, and has been interpreted as allowing greater to rights to those who exploit natural resources more fully, potentially favouring European settlers in the Americas over natives.

Two Treatises of Government at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Constitution.org: Second Treatise of Civil Government. HTML and TXT formats.

Early Modern Texts: Second Treatise on Government (1689), adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Second Treatise of Government. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Two Treatises of Government, with Patriarcha by Robert Filmer, edited by Thomas I. Cook. Hafner Library of Classics. Multiple formats.

Liberty Fund: Two Treatises of Government, edited by Thomas Hollis. Multiple formats. See also enhanced edition.

Marxists.org: The Second Treatise of Government. HTML format.

University of Adelaide: The Second Treatise of Civil Government. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Two Treatises of Government. HTML and other formats.

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