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A Treatise Of Human Nature
by David Hume
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A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), David Hume's comprehensive attempt to base philosophy on a new, observationally grounded study of human nature, is one of the most important texts in Western philosophy. It is also the focal point of current attempts to understand 18th-century western philosophy. The Treatise addresses many of the most fundamental philosophical issues: causation, existence, freedom and necessity, and morality.
It is therefore certain, that the imagination reaches a minimum, and may raise up to itself an idea, of which it cannot conceive any sub-division, and which cannot be diminished without a total annihilation. When you tell me of the thousandth and ten thousandth part of a grain of sand, I have a, distinct idea of these numbers and of their different proportions; but the images, which I form in my mind to represent the things themselves, are nothing different from each other, nor inferior to that image, by which I represent the grain of sand itself, which is supposed so vastly to exceed them. What consists of parts is distinguishable into them, and what is distinguishable is separable. But whatever we may imagine of the thing, the idea of a grain of sand is not distinguishable, nor separable into twenty, much less into a thousand, ten thousand, or an infinite number of different ideas.
About the Author
David Hume was born in Edinburgh in 1711. He began writing his Treatise of Human nature when he was 18 or 19. He spent periods of his life in the army, as a diplomat, and as a government minister - but his chief interests were in philosophy, literature, politics, economics, and history. His six volume History of England was published between 1752 and 1761. Hume was a leading figure of the Enlightenment and, by the time of his death in 1776, his writings were known throughout Europe.
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