David Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, first published in 1748, is a concise statement of Hume's central philosophical positions. It develops an account of human mental functioning which emphasizes the limits of human knowledge and the extent of our reliance on (non-rational) mental habits. It then applies that account to questions of free will and religious knowledge before closing with a defence of moderate scepticism. This volume, which presents a modified version of the definitive 1772 edition of the work, offers helpful annotation for the student reader, together with an introduction that sets this profoundly influential work in its philosophical and historical contexts. The volume also includes a selection of other works by Hume that throw light on both the circumstances of the work's genesis and its key themes and arguments.
Stephen Buckle is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University.
1. Of the different species of philosophy; 2. Of the origin of ideas; 3. Of the association of ideas; 4. Sceptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding; 5. Sceptical solution of these doubts; 6. Of probability; 7. Of the idea of necessary connexion; 8. Of liberty and necessity; 9. Of the reason of animals; 10. Of miracles; 11. Of a particular providence and of a future state; 12. Of the academical or sceptical philosophy; A Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend in Edinburgh; The Sceptic; Of Suicide; Of the Immortality of the Soul; Thumbnail biographies (from The History of England); Selections from Hume's letters; My Own Life.