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A Treatise of Human Nature (Oxford Philosophical Texts) New Ed Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0198751724
ISBN-10: 0198751729
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Editorial Reviews


`These new Oxford University Press editions have been meticulously collated from various exatant versions. Each text has an excellent introduction including an overview of Hume's thought and an account of his life and times. Even the difficult, and rarely commented-on, chapters on space and time are elucidated. There are also useful notes on the text and glossary. These scholarly new editions are ideally adapted for a whole range of readers, from beginners to experts.' Jane O'Grady, Catholic Herald, 4/8/00.

One of the greatest of all philosophical works, covering knowledge, imaginatio, emotion, morality and justice. Hume is down-to-earth, capable of putting other, pretentious philosophers down, but deeply sceptical even about his own reasoning. Baroness Warnock, The List, The Week 18/11/2000

About the Author

David Norton is Macdonald Professor of Moral Philosophy and Co-director of the Hume Society/National Endowment for the Humanities Institute on the Philosophy of David Hume.

Mary J. Norton is an independent scholar

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Philosophical Texts
  • Paperback: 626 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (February 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198751729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198751724
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.6 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Christopher A. VINE VOICE on 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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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By James Fieser on November 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
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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106 of 120 people found the following review helpful By ctdreyer on May 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
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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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By skytwo on October 10, 2003
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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