Hume Texts Online


Ad1777 1, SBN 2

MOST of the principles, and reasonings, contained in this volume, were published in a work in three volumes, called A Treatise of Human Nature: A work which the Author had projected before he left College, and which he wrote and published not long after. But not finding it successful, he was sensible of his error in going to the press too early, and he cast the whole anew in the following pieces, where some negligences in his former reasoning and more in the expression, are, he hopes, corrected. Yet several writers, who have honoured the Author's Philosophy with answers, have taken care to direct all their batteries against that juvenile work, which the Author never acknowledged, and have affected to triumph in any advantages, which, they imagined, they had obtained over it: A practice very contrary to all rules of candour and fair-dealing, and a strong instance of those polemical artifices, which a bigotted zeal thinks itself authorised to employ. Henceforth, the Author desires, that the following Pieces may alone be regarded as containing his philosophical sentiments and principles.

Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects (1758, 1777)

prepared by Amyas Merivale and Peter Millican

Hume first published a set of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects in 1753. It was a four-volume set containing (in this order) the Essays, Moral and Political, the first Enquiry, the second Enquiry, and the Political Discourses. In 1754 he published another edition of volume 4 (the Political Discourses), and in 1756 another edition of volume 2 (the first Enquiry). It is the next edition, in 1758, that is particularly interesting, however, since it is here that Hume renames and reorders his philosophical writings for the last time. A large single-volume set, this collection contained the Essays, Moral and Political and the Political Discourses, now renamed Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary parts 1 and 2, the first Enquiry (now called an enquiry, rather than philosophical essays), the Dissertation on the Passions, the second Enquiry, and the Natural History of Religion. Though subsequent editions of these Essays and Treatises were sometimes in two volumes, sometimes in four, the structure from this point onwards remained the same, right up to the posthumous 1777 edition, which Hume was working on until his death in 1776.

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