One of the most significant works of Western philosophy, Hume's Treatise was published in 1739-40, before he was thirty years old. A pinnacle of English empiricism, it is a comprehensive attempt to apply scientific methods of observation to a study of human nature, and a vigorous attack upon the principles of traditional metaphysical thought. With masterly eloquence, Hume denies the immortality of the soul and the reality of space; considers the manner in which we form concepts of identity, cause and effect; and speculates upon the nature of freedom, virtue and emotion. Opposed both to metaphysics and to rationalism, Hume's philosophy of informed scepticism sees man not as a religious creation, nor as a machine, but as a creature dominated by sentiment, passion and appetite.
First published 1739 & 1740; this edition 1969.
David hume (1711-76) devoted himself from early youth to 'philosophy and great learning'. A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40) was not well received on publication, but is now viewed as his masterpiece. Ernest Campbell Mossner is the author of many books on Hume. He has received fellowships from Columbia, Guggenheim and Fulbright, and has held the post of Professor of English and Philosophy at the University of Texas.