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A Treatise of Human Nature [Paperback]

by David Hume, L. A. Selby-Bigge, P. H. Nidditch
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 30, 1978 0198245882 978-0198245889 2nd
Reprinted from the original edition in three volumes and edited, with an analytical index, by L. A. Selby-Bigge. Revised by P. H. Nidditch.

Frequently Bought Together

A Treatise of Human Nature + An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke) + Descartes: Selected Philosophical Writings
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Editorial Reviews


"This is the best edition around, especially for its glossary, index and the inclusion of the 'Abstract.'"--Professor Forrest Williams, University of Colorado

"This is the best edition available with an excellent index and notes!"--George Aigla, St. Johns College

About the Author

David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian, as well as an important figure of Western philosophy and of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 2nd edition (November 30, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198245882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198245889
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
118 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Aware December 8, 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Be aware that the reviews for a book are displayed not only for one edition, but for all editions under the same title. The Oxford Philosophical Texts edition of Hume's "Treatise" should be the standard student edition. The Prometheus Books edition is cheap, but it does not include a modern introduction or any study notes. I recommend the Oxford Philosophical Texts version if you want or need more than just the raw text.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oxford's edition by the Nortons is the only one to buy November 23, 2004
Since Hume's Treatise first appeared in 1739-1740, several distinct editions have been published. While most of these are fine for casual use, the Oxford University Press edition, recently prepared by David and Mary Norton, stands alone as an outstanding scholarly achievement. Their edition, at present only available in the Oxford Philosophical Texts student edition, will within the next year or so also be available in a scholarly edition (Oxford's Clarendon Edition). These two versions have the same text of the Treatise. The difference between them lies in their introductions and annotations, which are suited to different sets of readers. Part of the value of both versions lies in these exceptional introductions and annotations. The other part, though, involves the Nortons' editing of the text of the Treatise itself, which, ironically, makes their edition more accurate than Hume's original. While the original edition of the Treatise was being printed, Hume instructed the printer to make changes to the text, and thus some first editions read differently than others. The Nortons have compared first-edition copies of the Treatise page by page to locate these changes. Pen in hand, Hume also scribbled other changes into several printed copies of the Treatise; the Nortons have accounted for those alterations as well. These are just two examples of many editorial tasks that have gone into making this the definitive edition of Hume's Treatise, the edition which will remain the standard for decades. Let me add a word regarding the critical comments that an anonymous reviewer made about the Nortons' edition ("A reader", January 18, 2003). This reviewer's comments may be well-meaning, but I can say with confidence there is little substance to her/his objections. The edition has been widely hailed as a triumph by Hume scholars and scholarly reviewers, and the philosophy editors at Oxford University Press tell me they are completely delighted with the work.
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103 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Before he chose to diddle away his later years writing book after book of history, playing house with Rousseau, annoying the religious authorities, and forging a lasting reputation as an all-around good guy, Hume dedicated his youth to writing the this book, which is nothing less than the single greatest work of philosophy in the English language. Indeed, I don't think there are even any other close competitors for that title. Naturally, then, this work was largely ignored during Hume's lifetime.
Notwithstanding the widely told, and somewhat accurate, standard story of the history of modern philosophy according to which Kant's rearguard action in response to Hume is the culmination of the modern period, I think that this book rather than Kant's First Critique is where it's at. Certainly, no book of modern philosophy compares to this complex, intricately argued, inspiring, maddening, imaginative, iconoclastic, encyclopedic tome when it comes to influence on contemporary philosophers in the Anglo-American analytic tradition. And while it's true that Kant's system is almost unparalleled in the breadth of its influence, defenders of the traditional story of modern philosophy need to remember that 'almost'. For it seems to me that, among the moderns, Hume got there first. He, and not Kant, is the first modernist whose importance is manifest in all the main areas of philosophy: epistemology (skepticism and the problem of induction), metaphysics (causation, personal identity, etc.), philosophy of mind (action theory, rationality) meta-ethics (meta-ethical subjectivism, proto-noncognitivism, reason vs. emotions, moral psychology, etc.), normative ethics (importance of benevolence, justice as an artificial virtue, etc.).
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of Philosophy? October 10, 2003
By skytwo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
That's an overstatement, certainly, but David Hume's 'Treatise of Human Nature' is unquestionably one of the most influential and important works of philosophy in the history of mankind. And considering current trends in academia, it is more timely than ever. As an undergraduate, I remember being stunned by Hume's seemingly irrefutable arguments on the nature of reason and reality. As a graduate student often disturbed by the uncritical acceptance of faddish theories, I was amazed to find that Hume is as relevant today as he was over two hundred and fifty years ago. Within the first few pages of the book, he manages to outline an intellectual framework that even today makes the arguments of the most highly-regarded theorists sound hollow and jargonistic.
Hume's ideas are now so widely accepted and taught that they affect the way we interact with the world on a daily basis, whether we realize it or not. Yet Hume was also groundbreaking in another sense-- he made profound philosophical ideas accessible, and even entertaining. Not only is the 'Treatise' notable for its clarity, but for a wit and charm that make it nearly as pleasant to read as Dumas' 'Three Musketeers.' No mean feat for a man recording ideas that would shape the course of Western civilization. Small wonder that even as philosophers acknowledge him as one of the greats of the discipline, so many have sought to emulate his clear prose, free as it is of jargon, neologisms, or esoteric concepts.
And as if that weren't enough, Hume was such a decent and well-liked individual in his own lifetime that he was referred to as 'le bon David' in France and 'St. David' in his native Scotland. It's a shame that not all of history's giants can be so appealing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant !
It is simply brilliant. I don't think it really matters whether you agree or disagree with Hume on the subjects covered. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Shahin Samadi
5.0 out of 5 stars Time machine required!
Dogmatic slumbers aside, I almost feel that Kant felt the need to write a proper work for Hume to criticize. After all, who was Hume writing against? Aristotle? Maybe. Read more
Published 2 months ago by David S. Hale
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
Perfect there was nothing wrong with the book is in very good condition happy with what I have been received
Published 7 months ago by Jake Schake
1.0 out of 5 stars Worthless
If you're in the market for a paperback doorstop, don't hesitate to drop eight bucks on this dandy model. Read more
Published 17 months ago by James Morganelli
5.0 out of 5 stars OPT Is an Incredible Collection!
The Nortons do a wonderful job in preserving Hume's original writing style, including his word usage and punctuation in the Oxford Philosophical Texts edition of the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Only Philosophy!
These reviews (with two notable exceptions) are as likely to turn the interested reader away from this eminently readable, enjoyable, prescient, sui-generis philosophical bomb... Read more
Published on February 17, 2009 by Daniel Myers
5.0 out of 5 stars Norton Edition Outstanding
The following comments pertain to the Oxford Philosophical Texts edition of David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature edited by David and Mary Norton. Read more
Published on October 25, 2008 by Reader From Aurora
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad edition. Full of mistakes.
This version is full of mistakes. It was copied from a free version available online (project gutenburg). This becomes evident when the same mistakes are discovered in both. Read more
Published on September 1, 2008 by Dan Baras
1.0 out of 5 stars An Awful Edition, Full of Typos
If you are looking to buy Hume's Treatise of Human Nature, buy another edition. In addition to making poor font choices, this edition's editors have let an unconscionable number... Read more
Published on October 4, 2007 by James Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars philosophy as social science
Hume's `Treatise on Human Nature', the book, which, in the report of the author "fell stillborn from the press", and yet remains of continuing interest to us four centuries hence,... Read more
Published on November 24, 2006 by cvairag
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