David hume a treatise of human nature pdf

Scottish philosopher David Hume, considered by david hume a treatise of human nature pdf to be Hume’s most important work and one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. The Treatise is a classic statement of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism.


In the introduction Hume presents the idea of placing all science and philosophy on a novel foundation: namely, an empirical investigation into human nature. Impressed by Isaac Newton’s achievements in the physical sciences, Hume sought to introduce the same experimental method of reasoning into the study of human psychology, with the aim of discovering the “extent and force of human understanding”. Against the philosophical rationalists, Hume argues that passion rather than reason governs human behaviour.

Hume defends a sentimentalist account of morality, arguing that ethics is based on sentiment and passion rather than reason, and famously declaring that “reason is, and ought only to be the slave to the passions”. Hume also offers a skeptical theory of personal identity and a compatibilist account of free will. Contemporary philosophers have written of Hume that “no man has influenced the history of philosophy to a deeper or more disturbing degree”, and that Hume’s Treatise is “the founding document of cognitive science” and the “most important philosophical work written in English.