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The Life of David Hume$
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Ernest C. Mossner

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243365

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243365.001.0001

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A Treatise of Human Nature

A Treatise of Human Nature

Chapter:
(p.117) Chapter 10 A Treatise of Human Nature
Source:
The Life of David Hume
Author(s):

Ernest Campbell Mossner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243365.003.0010

At the close of his life David Hume had no lingering doubts about the vitality of the first offspring of his intellect; he was convinced that it had never been alive. ‘Never literary Attempt was more unfortunate than my Treatise of Human Nature’, he wrote in My Own Life. The issue might seem settled once and for all by this unequivocal statement, yet there is evidence to the contrary. First, the Treatise was sufficiently alive in 1745 to lose for Hume the Professorship of Ethics and Pneumatical Philosophy at Edinburgh University. Second, after a quiescent period of more than a decade, the ‘Murmur among the Zealots’ began to rise in the 1750s, reaching something like a roar in the 1770s. Third, before the end of the eighteenth century, the ideas of the Treatise began to filter through to important thinkers, until, in the twentieth century, that work has finally been recognised as Hume's supreme philosophical effort.

Keywords:   David Hume, intellect, Treatise, Human Nature, My Own Life, Ethics, Pneumatical Philosophy, Edinburgh University, Zealots

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