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An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

David Hume

Book Overview: 

The Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is a shortened and simplified version of Hume’s masterpiece A Treatise of Human Nature. It sought to reach a wider audience, and to dispel some of the virulent criticism addressed toward the former book. In it, Hume explains his theory of epistemology, and argues against other current theories, including those of John Locke, George Berkeley, and Nicolas Malebranche.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .a of cause and effect; since the particular powers, by which all natural operations are performed, never appear to the senses; nor is it reasonable to conclude, merely because one event, in one instance, precedes another, that therefore the one is the cause, the other the effect. Their conjunction may be arbitrary and casual. There may be no reason to infer the existence of one from the appearance of the other. And in a word, such a person, without more experience, could never employ his conjecture or reasoning concerning any matter of fact, or be assured of anything beyond what was immediately present to his memory and senses.

Suppose, again, that he has acquired more experience, and has lived so long in the world as to have observed familiar objects or events to be constantly conjoined together; what is the consequence of this experience? He immediately infers the existence of one object from the appearance of the oth. . . Read More

Community Reviews

"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...No.ask,

Hayatı doğru yaşamanın merkezine hisleri ve deneyimi koyarak felsefe alanında devrim yaratan "İnsanın Anlama Yetisi Üzerine Bir Soruşturma / An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding" eseriyle İskoç filozof David Hume, zihnin hislerin bir kölesi olduğunun vurgusunu yapıyor. Aldığımız kararlarda mantıktan daha...more

So I had to read this for my class "A Prehistory of Affect: Reading the Passions." It was a pretty panicked situation: I got randomly chosen to do a 30 minute presentation on this text... in the first week of my Masters. I had one week to read the Enquiry and prepare my presentation. It was incre...more

دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتاب یکی از سه کتابِ ارزشمندی است که از دلِ مطالبِ کتابِ اصلیِ زنده یاد <دیوید هیوم> بزرگترین فیلسوفِ تاریخ انگلستان، با عنوان "در طبیعت انسان" بیرون آمده است که اینگونه برای ریویو نویسی من نیز ساده تر و بهتر است و میتوانم در مورد نوشته های دیگر از این فیلسوفِ خردگرا، ب...more

تا تونستم کِشش دادم، ولی خب تموم شد متأسفانه! متن پیچیده نیست و آسانفهم است. به غیر از بخش اول کتاب، که فکر کنم خودِ هیوم هم خیلی دوستاش نداشته باشه، بقیهی بخشها عالی هستند. بحث معروف علیت هم در این کتاب آمده است. در بخش ده در رد معجزه بحث کرده است که خب جالب بود. خواندناش رو به هرکسی که یه ذره ع...more

Returning to an old friend! The first text I was given to study as a philosophy undergraduate, and what pleasure to revisit.

I'm not sure that Hume changed my thinking as a young man so much as brought the delight of recognition. The sweeping away of superstition, fantasy systems, spir...more

Addition since my first review: The Problem of Induction is always something to keep in mind, for we humans are used to finding a solid ground to maintain a sense of certainty on the events of the outside world. What reasons are we to justify that what we repeatedly experienced in the past will still cont...more

I didn't particularly enjoy this book. Hume is both pretentious and self-indulgent. While he makes a good case for experience being a necessary prerequisite for knowing effect from cause, he also contradicts himself variously and accords to experience more authority than he accredits it in certai...more

I had seen so many references to Hume's Enquiry that I almost thought I had read it; but, when I actually got around to opening the book, I found as usual that things were not quite as I had imagined. I was not surprised by his relentless scepticism, or by his insistence on basing all reasoning on empir...more

Hume discusses the distinction between impressions and ideas. By "impressions", he means sensations, while by "ideas", he means memories and imaginings. According to Hume, the difference between the two is that ideas are less vivacious than impressions. For example, the idea of the taste of an or...more

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