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A Treatise Of Human Nature by David Hume

Ajab
Posts: 395
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7/12/2014 5:06:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Let it never be said that Ajab did nothing to help debate.org. For even now I have reviewed many debates and I have noticed that there is a grave need to educate the masses regarding certain elements of Philosophy. I believe the best method to do this is to aid the users in reading one of the most important texts of Western Philosophy: A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume.
This book marks the end of speculative philosophy, and asserts an 'informed skepticism'. Why have I chosen this book rather than lets say Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, or Plato's Phaedo? It is because this book, if understood, aids a person in realizing many phenomenon. Also this book answers everything from Thales to Berkeley. The Kritik on the other hand is extremely difficult and no amount of explanation will allow DDOers to understand it without a base in philosophy. The Treatise touches upon nearly everything, from Epistemology, to morality.
My method will be simple, I will not critique the ideas, nor will I connect them with historic or contemporary writers. I will simply paraphrase the text, explain the main concepts and raise some questions which should be considered by readers of the Treatise. This project is rather long as I hope to go paragraph by paragraph of the Treatise. I suggest you read my explanation of Hume's Introduction to get a feel of how I will be handling this.
I will only continue if I know this is actually benefiting people. My aim here is to make a seminal book of philosophy available to others. People can discuss what they read below the passage and I will ask my friends viz. Wylted, phantom, whiteflame, Raisor, Envisage to help answer queries or explain concepts which are left esoteric even after I have tried to explain them. I think the ideal name that can be given to what I am about to do is 'commentary'. I am going to write a commentary of the Treatise of Human Nature.
I hope to write one section each fortnight (at the latest). So I will start today then, I hope this does help or is useful for people. A Treatise of Human Nature is a marvelous book and a lot can be garnered from it, its specialty however lies in it being only moderately difficult.
Onward then!
#StandWithBossy
#Addison/Blade-of-Truth: I slapped a girl on the arse once with a piece of uncooked chicken, things got weird.
You threw it away, right? -Ajab
...
Oh lord did you eat it?
...maybe!
Ajab
Posts: 395
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7/14/2014 6:01:50 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
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As promised this is the first part of my commentary of the Treatise of Human Nature. I will start with the Introduction that Hume provides. Before that I would once more like to clarify once more that I am using the Penguin version of the Treatise of Human Nature. I hope this gets a following and my labors are not in vain. With that let us begin.

On the facsimile there is a quote mentioned: 'Seldom are men blessed with times in which they may think what they like, and say what they think.' This quote is by Tacitus and is in fact quite important. Hume will, in his book constantly remind us how happy he is that England is a place which allows the freedom to publish atheistic material, he goes even further and asserts later on that his philosophical system could only come into existence because he has been given this freedom in both thought and body. This is where then we may start of with Hume's Advertisement.

Hume's Advertisement is a small passage where Hume advertises his own Introduction. He clarifies the importance of the Introduction for he says: 'My design in the present work is sufficiently explain'd in the Introduction.' Hume mentions how book one and Book two are not complete and the: 'subjects of "understanding" and "passions" make a compleat chain of reasoning by themselves'. Hume says he: 'takes advantage of this natural distinction' so that he has divided his book in two volumes. He says that only if the first book is given any credence would he move on to write his second book. Sadly the Treatise fell dead-born from the public, but fortunately Hume still decided to write out the third and fourth books. The third and fourth books, as Hume tell us will: 'proceed to the examinations of morals, politics, and criticisms', this Hume asserts will: 'compleat the Treatise of Human Nature'. For Hume believe that if we have a complete and accurate understanding of Human Nature we can realize the true system of philosophy. Just as Plato was obsessed with Being, and Kant was obsessed with the Subject, Hume was obsessed with Nature. Lastly we note that Hume wanted to be liked and made popular, he hoped that he would be attacked vehemently so that he would get enough fame. For Hume says: 'the approbation of the public is my greatest reward'. Now let us move on to the Introduction.
#StandWithBossy
#Addison/Blade-of-Truth: I slapped a girl on the arse once with a piece of uncooked chicken, things got weird.
You threw it away, right? -Ajab
...
Oh lord did you eat it?
...maybe!
Ajab
Posts: 395
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7/15/2014 1:29:07 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/14/2014 6:25:57 AM, Smithereens wrote:
'A grave need to educate the masses,' is not how you win your audience. Welcome to DDO.

P
#StandWithBossy
#Addison/Blade-of-Truth: I slapped a girl on the arse once with a piece of uncooked chicken, things got weird.
You threw it away, right? -Ajab
...
Oh lord did you eat it?
...maybe!
Ajab
Posts: 395
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7/15/2014 1:29:49 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/14/2014 6:25:57 AM, Smithereens wrote:
'A grave need to educate the masses,' is not how you win your audience. Welcome to DDO.

'regarding certain aspects of philosophy' :P
#StandWithBossy
#Addison/Blade-of-Truth: I slapped a girl on the arse once with a piece of uncooked chicken, things got weird.
You threw it away, right? -Ajab
...
Oh lord did you eat it?
...maybe!
Ajab
Posts: 395
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7/15/2014 2:52:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/14/2014 6:25:57 AM, Smithereens wrote:
'A grave need to educate the masses,' is not how you win your audience. Welcome to DDO.

I still do however apologize for my condescension.
#StandWithBossy
#Addison/Blade-of-Truth: I slapped a girl on the arse once with a piece of uncooked chicken, things got weird.
You threw it away, right? -Ajab
...
Oh lord did you eat it?
...maybe!
sdavio
Posts: 1,800
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7/19/2014 12:50:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/12/2014 5:06:02 AM, Ajab wrote:
Let it never be said that Ajab did nothing to help debate.org. For even now I have reviewed many debates and I have noticed that there is a grave need to educate the masses regarding certain elements of Philosophy.

Well this is probably true, but I can see how it seems condescending also..

I believe the best method to do this is to aid the users in reading one of the most important texts of Western Philosophy: A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume.
This book marks the end of speculative philosophy, and asserts an 'informed skepticism'. Why have I chosen this book rather than lets say Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, or Plato's Phaedo? It is because this book, if understood, aids a person in realizing many phenomenon.

This is extremely vague. Do Kant and Plato not aid people in "realizing many phenomenon"? And I'm not sure what that means.

At 7/14/2014 6:01:50 AM, Ajab wrote:
Hume's Advertisement is a small passage where Hume advertises his own Introduction. He clarifies the importance of the Introduction for he says: 'My design in the present work is sufficiently explain'd in the Introduction.' Hume mentions how book one and Book two are not complete and the: 'subjects of "understanding" and "passions" make a compleat chain of reasoning by themselves'. Hume says he: 'takes advantage of this natural distinction' so that he has divided his book in two volumes.

So there is a division between 'understanding' and 'passions'? Should I understand this to mean that emotion and reason are two non-overlapping aspects of experience?

For Hume believe that if we have a complete and accurate understanding of Human Nature we can realize the true system of philosophy. Just as Plato was obsessed with Being, and Kant was obsessed with the Subject, Hume was obsessed with Nature.

I'm not sure about the difference between these things, and about what constitutes 'nature'. For instance, what would be the difference between the 'subject' and 'human nature'? Or, what would a study in philosophy of something other than 'nature' be?

Lastly we note that Hume wanted to be liked and made popular, he hoped that he would be attacked vehemently so that he would get enough fame. For Hume says: 'the approbation of the public is my greatest reward'. Now let us move on to the Introduction.

I hope you continue this project :)
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Ajab
Posts: 395
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7/19/2014 2:34:59 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/19/2014 12:50:45 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 7/12/2014 5:06:02 AM, Ajab wrote:
Let it never be said that Ajab did nothing to help debate.org. For even now I have reviewed many debates and I have noticed that there is a grave need to educate the masses regarding certain elements of Philosophy.

Well this is probably true, but I can see how it seems condescending also..
I realize this and apologized, anyways no one seems to have read the start so I wont go on.

I believe the best method to do this is to aid the users in reading one of the most important texts of Western Philosophy: A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume.
This book marks the end of speculative philosophy, and asserts an 'informed skepticism'. Why have I chosen this book rather than lets say Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, or Plato's Phaedo? It is because this book, if understood, aids a person in realizing many phenomenon.

This is extremely vague. Do Kant and Plato not aid people in "realizing many phenomenon"? And I'm not sure what that means.
I love Kant, but he is too difficult. I love Plato, but he can sufficiently be read by oneself. Hume summarizes all metaphysics before Kant, and proposes his skepticism. In a way by reading Hume one gets most parts of philosophy before Hume.

At 7/14/2014 6:01:50 AM, Ajab wrote:
Hume's Advertisement is a small passage where Hume advertises his own Introduction. He clarifies the importance of the Introduction for he says: 'My design in the present work is sufficiently explain'd in the Introduction.' Hume mentions how book one and Book two are not complete and the: 'subjects of "understanding" and "passions" make a compleat chain of reasoning by themselves'. Hume says he: 'takes advantage of this natural distinction' so that he has divided his book in two volumes.

So there is a division between 'understanding' and 'passions'? Should I understand this to mean that emotion and reason are two non-overlapping aspects of experience?
According to Hume yes, Hume sort of denied reasoning. For Hume however all the passions took heart as 'impressions' which 'are violent forms that shook the soul'. Think of impressions as powerful ideas, and these impressions come from sensations. These impressions, once they are over, become ideas. Now they can either become the idea of memory, from which new impressions can be created via 'reflexion', or these ideas can be combined together by the faculty of imagination. When imagination combines two similar ideas together again and again, and 'the conclusion is oft recurring, and correct' Hume calls this reason. Reason then is a slave to experience. Kant brought out a system where he said reason cannot be a slave for all experiences are subjective (what I might fine chilly, you might fine not so chilly), yet there are certain subjects which possess 'the conceptualization of necessity', like mathematics.

For Hume believe that if we have a complete and accurate understanding of Human Nature we can realize the true system of philosophy. Just as Plato was obsessed with Being, and Kant was obsessed with the Subject, Hume was obsessed with Nature.

I'm not sure about the difference between these things, and about what constitutes 'nature'. For instance, what would be the difference between the 'subject' and 'human nature'? Or, what would a study in philosophy of something other than 'nature' be?
The study of Being is what am I? The study of subject is what is my consciousness? The study of nature is what forms my consciousness? All three result in different answers.

Lastly we note that Hume wanted to be liked and made popular, he hoped that he would be attacked vehemently so that he would get enough fame. For Hume says: 'the approbation of the public is my greatest reward'. Now let us move on to the Introduction.

I hope you continue this project :)
Hardly anyone has read it, if you would like I will try however. :)
#StandWithBossy
#Addison/Blade-of-Truth: I slapped a girl on the arse once with a piece of uncooked chicken, things got weird.
You threw it away, right? -Ajab
...
Oh lord did you eat it?
...maybe!