Hume Texts Online

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.