Empiricism

Berkeley: Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous

George_Berkeley._Line_engraving._Wellcome_V0000473Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous is a 1713 philosophical work by George Berkeley, written as a dialogue in which the characters discuss the metaphysical ideas which Berkeley had previously propounded to some criticism in A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.

The two characters are given Greek names which reflect their respective commitments. Hylas is named after the Greek word for matter and takes a materialist position. Philonous, 'lover of mind', defends an idealist stance which is largely Berkeley's own.

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Early Modern Texts: Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1901). Multiple formats.

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Berkeley: A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge

George_Berkeley_by_Jonh_SmibertA Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge is a 1710 work by George Berkeley, which sets out an idealist theory of knowledge, similar to that of Locke, in the service of a radically different idealist metaphysics. Berkeley argues that the source of our ideas cannot be material things, but only other ideas, and the ultimate basis of objective reality is therefore the existence of ideas in the mind of God.

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Early Modern Texts: The Principles of Human Knowledge, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg : A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Principles of Human Knowledge (1907). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Principles of Human Knowledge, with works by Locke and Hume. (Great Books of the Western World edition, 1937). Multiple formats.

Trinity College Dublin: A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. Multiple Formats.

Wikisource: A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. 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.

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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.

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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.'

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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.


John Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

John_LockeAn Essay Concerning Human Understanding is a 1689 work by John Locke setting out a new theory of knowledge influenced by contemporary scientific developments. In Book 1 of the essay, Locke strongly attacked Cartesian rationalism and its doctrine that the human mind has access to innate ideas. In Book 2 he posited that the mind was like a white sheet of paper (often paraphrased as a 'blank slate'), with its only source of knowledge being experience.

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Chinese University of Hong Kong: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Framed HTML format.

Early Modern Texts: Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, Volume 1 | Volume 2. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: An Essay concerning Human Understanding, edited by Alexander Campbell Fraser. Multiple formats.

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

Liberty Fund: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Volume 1 | Volume 2. Multiple formats.

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

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

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Francis Bacon: New Atlantis

Truth-timeNew Atlantis is an unfinished utopian novel by Francis Bacon (1561-1626). It is presented as the account of a group of sailors shipwrecked on the coast of Bensalem, a mythical island somewhere to the west of Peru. The description of Bensalem's institutions, notably the 'House of Salomon', allows Bacon to set out his ideas for the organisation of a scientific research university, a vision which had some influence on the development of the Royal Society during the seventeenth century.

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Biblioteca Augustana: Nova Atlantis. Latin text. HTML format.

Gutenberg: New Atlantis. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Advancement of Learning and New Atlantis. (Oxford, 1906). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Essays Civil and Moral and The New Atlantis by Francis Bacon, Areopagitica and Tractate on Education by John Milton and Religio Medici by Thomas Brown. Harvard Classics, Vol 3. EPUB, TXT, MOBI and PDF formats.

Online Library of Liberty: Ideal Empires and Republics. Rousseau’s Social Contract, More’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, Campanella’s City of the Sun, with an Introduction by Charles M. Andrews (1901). Multiple formats.

Wikisource: New Atlantis, Harvard Classics edition. HTML and other formats.

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Francis Bacon: Novum Organum

Houghton_EC.B1328.620ib_-_Novum_organum_scientiarumThe New Organon (Latin: Novum Organum) is a Latin treatise on scientific method by Francis Bacon (1561-1621). Published in 1620, it was intened to form form part of a greater work which was never completed, the Instauratio Magna. Its title reflects Bacon's critique of ways thinking influenced by Aristotle's Organon, which he sought to replace with the experimental method and inductive reasoning.

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Bartleby: The New Organon Or, True Directions Concerning the Interpretation of Nature. English translation by James Spedding, Robert Leslie Ellis and Douglas Denon Heath. HTML format.

Early Modern Texts: The New Organon, adapted and translated into more modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Novum Organum; Or, True Suggestions for the Interpretation of Nature, translated by Joseph Devey. Multiple formats. 

Hanover College: Novum Organum. English translation by Basil Montague (1854). HTML format.

Internet Archive: The Works of Francis Bacon, Vol IV (1858). Multiple formats.

Latin Library: Novum Organum. Latin text. HTML format.

Liberty Fund: Novum Organum. English translation by Joseph Devey. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The New Organon, translated by James Spedding, Robert Leslie Ellis, and Douglas Denon Heath (1863). Multiple formats.

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

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Baconian Science. Melvyn Bragg with Patricia Fara, Stephen Pumfrey and Rhodri Lewis.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Francis Bacon (1561 -1626).

Librivox: The New Organon - public domain audiobook.

PhilPapers: Francis Bacon - open access papers.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Francis Bacon.

Wikipedia: Novum Organum

YouTube/60 Second Philosophy: The New Organon overview.

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Aristotle: The Organon - The foundational body of work on logic and scientific method whose authority Bacon sought to overturn.

John Aubrey: Brief Lives - includes a life of Bacon.