Hume Texts Online

Original Versions

By default, every text is displayed in its edited form. By deselecting the “Edited Text” checkbox at the top of the page, however, you can switch to the original version. (This affects searches as well as the text displayed on the screen.) Original versions aim to be exact reproductions of the copytexts except for the following silent alterations.

1. Labels and pagination

Every paragraph and footnote has been given a label. This appears either immediately above or in the margin to the left of the paragraph or footnote (depending on the width of your screen), in red and in a different font, and thus clearly distinguished from the text itself.

Page breaks from the copytexts have been removed. Page references to the most standard modern reference edition—Selby-Bigge and Nidditch for the Treatise, Abstract, and two Enquiries, Miller for the essays and My Own Life, Beauchamp for the Natural History of Religion and the Dissertation on the Passions, and Kemp Smith for the Dialogues—are included following the red paragraph or footnote labels mentioned above. Page breaks from these editions, when they interrupt a paragraph, are represented with the pipe symbol “|”; this can either be shown or hidden, by toggling the “Show Page Breaks” option at the top of each page.

2. Line breaks and hyphens

Hyphens introduced in order to break up a word at the end of a line have been removed, as has the letter “e” sometimes introduced preceding that hyphen (as in “make-|ing”, “take-|ing”). In some cases, however, it is not obvious whether the “e” preceding the hyphen would have been there anyway: line breaks aside, we find both “where-ever” and “wherever” in Hume’s texts, as well as both “falsehood” and “falshood”, both “judgement” and “judgment”. To settle these cases, we have gone with the most common spelling in the text in question. Consequently we use “falshood” in the Treatise, and “falsehood” everywhere else; we use “judgement” in the Dialogues, and “judgment” everywhere else; and we use “where-ever” in the Dialogues, and “wherever” everywhere else.

Only in one instance does this general principle make us slightly uneasy: there are two instances of “where-|ever” in the Treatise, but also three instances of “where-ever” without a page break (and this hyphenated spelling is also consistently used in the Dialogues). That said, “wherever” is consistently used in all Hume’s other publications, and vastly more common even in the Treatise itself. Where the additional “e” and hyphen occurs at a line break in the Treatise, therefore, we have removed it.

3. Footnotes and endnotes

Footnote symbols are all converted to numbers, for ease of reference. Footnotes themselves are grouped together at the end of each section, after a horizontal line. Endnotes—in the case of texts from the Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects—are placed immediately following the footnote that refers to them (to save the reader from having to click or scroll needlessly). In the 1777 copytext, endnotes appeared at the very end of each volume, after a heading “NOTES TO THE FIRST VOLUME” or “NOTES TO THE SECOND VOLUME”.

Footnote anchors are placed within square brackets, and appear in red (as opposed to the original black), indicating a link that can be clicked on to move you to the part of the text being referred to. In the copytexts, footnote anchors sometimes appear between two words, and at a roughly equal distance between the two. It is therefore unclear whether the anchor is meant to be placed at the end of the first word, the start of the second, or in the middle (with a space on either side). To avoid difficult decisions of this kind, and because the issue involves only a typographical convention with no significance for the understanding of the text, in every case we have simply placed the anchor at the end of the first word, in accordance with modern practice.

4. Miscellaneous formatting changes

  • Decorative first letters at the beginning of some of Hume’s texts have been changed to large dropped capitals. Dropped capitals at the start of subsequent sections are as in the copytexts.
  • Quotation marks are used in the now standard way, with one at the beginning and one at the end of each quotation. In some original texts, long quotations appear with a quotation mark at the beginning of every line.
  • The eighteenth century long “s” (which looks rather like an “f”) has been everywhere replaced with an ordinary “s”. Ligatures (joining letter combinations such as “ct” and “fi”) have been removed. The combinations “æ” and “œ” have, however, been preserved.
  • Commas and semicolons do not appear italicised in Hume’s texts, even in the context of a quotation or statement that is otherwise all in italics; we treat this as indicating that italicised commas and semicolons are indistinguishable from non-italicised commas and semicolons in the font used by Hume’s publishers. Since our own fonts are able to distinguish them, however, we have italicised these punctuation marks when they occur within a phrase that is otherwise all italicised. (Note, by contrast, that colons are sometimes italicised in Hume’s texts, typically when they follow an italicised word. The formatting of colons here follows the copytexts.)
  • An ordinary lower case (short) “s” is indistinguishable, in the font used by Hume’s publishers, from an “s” in small capitals. This raises the question, when a name appears in small capitals, followed by an apostrophe and an “s”, whether the trailing “s” should be in small capitals or not. We have here taken the view that the capitalisation should apply only to the name itself, since this seems most logical and is also supported by Hume’s texts in the parallel case when names appear in italics, followed by an apostrophe and an “s”: in such cases, the “s” is typically not italicised (see, for example, footnotes 11 and 47 of the Treatise).