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Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary (Liberty Classics) Hardcover – April 1, 1985


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Liberty Fund; Revised edition (April 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865970556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865970557
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,589,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

As part of the tried and true model of informal essay writing, Hume began publishing his Essays: Moral, Political and Literary in 1741. The majority of these finely honed treatises fall into three distinct areas: political theory, economic theory and aesthetic theory.

Interestingly, Hume's was motivated to produce a collection of informal essays given the poor public reception of his more formally written Treatise of Human Nature in 1739. He hoped that his work would be interesting not only to the educated man, but to the common man as well. He passionately argues that essays provide a forum for discussing his philosophy of "common life." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

DAVID HUME (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher and historian. Educated at Edinburgh, he lived in France from 1734 to 1737, where he finished his first philosophical work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40). His additional philosophical works include An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748), Political Discourses (1752), The Natural History of Religion (1755), and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779).

David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher and historian. Educated at Edinburgh, he lived in France from 1734 to 1737, where he finished his first philosophical work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40). His additional philosophical works include An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748), Political Discourses (1752), The Natural History of Religion (1755), and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Heersink on March 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Liberty/Classics comprehensive volume is superior to the Oxford edition in every way. The former is a complete compilation, whereas the Oxford edition contain only "selected" essays.

These essays are more in the tradition of Montaigne, Marcus Arelius, and Emerson, to cite some exemplars of the tradition, meaning that these essays are not as logically rigorous as Hume's "Treatise on Human Nature," "Essays Concerning Human Understanding," "Principles of Morals," and "Natural Religion," but are more an astute and empirical observation of what causes pleasure and satisfaction versus what causes discomfort and uneasiness. This emprical motif permeates all the essays.

The "moral" essays are a continuation of Vol. III of his "Treatise on Human Nature," and "Principles of Morals," and contribute to how our "tastes" and "utility," rather than apriori logic, delimit and describe moral ideas and ideals. His "political" essays are the most prominent among the group and are often prescient of subsequent developments, clearly anticipating a more democratic society, but they often come across as antediluvian, despite Hume's analytical dexterity and his compassionate motivation. The "literary" essays are the least in number and the most impotent of his contributions. Not that they lack value or interest, they simply lack novelty or new understanding. All his essays have an empirical bent, which should not surprise anyone familiar with Hume's other works.

Many of these 48 essays have perennial value, while others are clearly cotemporaneous with his time and place (mid-18th century England). In either case, they contribute to our understanding of the period, while making perspicacious observations about subjects that are both endearing and enduring. The LibertyClassics' edition uses current locution and spellings in Caslon 540 typeface on durable, acid-free paper, making Hume's lucid and elegant prose an even more attractive presentation. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Veteran Reds Fan on January 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately when choosing an edition of a classic work that is long out of print, the reader is often confronted by Amazon entries that lead to books from publishers he has never heard of. Do not buy those editions. They are invariably scanned in and seemingly glued together with Elmer's.

Do be careful and buy an edition from a quality publisher--Oxford, Cambridge, Hackett, or an American university press. Among these publishers Liberty Fund stands out as a producer of classic works that feature good-sized print, generous margins, permanent bindings, and low prices. And always carefully edited.

Hume's Essays is a typically excellent edition from Liberty Fund. It consists of three sets of essays, 49 total, on various subjects. Those of most interest to the economically inclined include Of Money, Of Interest, and Of the Balance of Trade. These are an excellent entry into classical-era economics and can be recommended to anyone interested in learning more about economic thought in the mid-18c. I have assigned this edition to students with great success.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M-Stew on February 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For your own sake, DISREGARD the 2 and 1 star reviews. They are referring to another edition. This is the finest editions of Hume's essays. It is beautifully printed and the quality of the paper and layout is superb. Love this book.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book offers an intersting collection of Hume's minor writing. A must for anyone interested in Hume's philosphy. Nicely printed on acid-free paper the book is good value for money.
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