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The Pre-Kantian Modern Philosophy Witch Project

René Descartes
Thomas Hobbes
John Locke
Gottfried Leibniz
George Berkeley
David Hume

The David Hume Project


David X. Hume

THE PROJECT: To complete the Hobbes naturalist - skeptical project while exploting Locke as a cover; to provide a mechanistic account of ideas.

NOTE: As of 10/11/99, there will be no Hume on the mid-term.

We have only begun to scratch the surface of Hume in class, which is to our advantage. Descartes plus Hume on the same test equals not getting done in 50 minutes.

Hume, taking his cure from future theological works from Scotland, gave his first work a title that took up roughly 20% of the book's volume. It begins with A Treatise of Human Nature... and is often referred to simply as The Treatise. For class, we read selections from An Enquiry Concerning Human (it's a pun -- get it?) Understanding.

Note this carefully: in class, we discussed the Treatise; in our book, we read from Enquiry.

Book I - Of the Understanding: Hume takes the basic, empiricist engine that Locke articulated (no innate ideas -- simple ideas arise from experience and more complex ideas are built from these basic ones) and throws in a few additions of his own such as details, clarity, and consistency.

Book II - Of the Passions: Here, Hume argues that Reason is not as strong as passions and desires. A brief survey of what people are doing in Covenant's library at night may very well prove that Hume is right. This is a major contender in the arena of moral philosophy, as it provides a real challenge for Rationalist and Idealist moral theories.

This is about as fas as we got last Friday.

Descartes | Hobbes | Locke | Leibniz | Berkeley | Hume | What Happened to Those Students?