Cover of A Treatise Of Human Nature

A Treatise Of Human Nature

Auhtor: David Hume

Language: english

Genres:

classic
Downloads: 415
eBook size: 4Kb

Review by Timothy B. Riley, March 2007


Rating: (*****)
Copyright: Public Domain in the U.S.
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Summary of the Book 'A Treatise Of Human Nature':

An Abstract of a Book lately Published full title An Abstract of a Book lately Published Entitled A Treatise of Human Nature c. Wherein the Chief Argument of that Book is farther Illustrated and Explained is a summary of the main doctrines of David Humes work A Treatise of Human Nature published anonymously in 1740. There has been speculation about the authorship of the work. Some scholars believe it was written by Humes friend the economist Adam Smith. Most believe it was written by Hume himself in an attempt to popularise the Treatise. In The Philosophical Quarterly in 1976 and again in Hume Studies 1991 J. O. Nelson challenged the received view that Hume wrote the Abstract arguing that Adam Smith wrote it. His case depends on the identity of the Mr Smith referred to in a letter of 4 March 1740 from Hume at Ninewells to Francis Hutcheson at Glasgow. My Bookseller has sent to Mr Smith a Copy of my Book which I hope he has receivd as well as your Letter. I have not yet heard what he has done with the Abstract. Perhaps you have. I have got it printed in London but not in the Works of the Learned there having been an article with regard to my Book somewhat abusive printed in that Work before I sent up the Abstract? Keynes and Sraffa argued that the Mr Smith was John Smith Hutchesons Dublin publisher and that Hume wrote the Abstract (as all the internal evidence suggests). Norman Kemp Smith in a review of the Keynes and Sraffa edition also accepted this as well as pointing out the entry on Hume in Watkins Biographical Dictionary attributing authorship of the Abstract to Hume suggesting that the author of the entry possessed inside information about Humes motives in publishing the Abstract. Nelson has argued that Mr Smith was Adam Smith (at that time still a student). David Raynor has argued that all of the presently available internal and external evidence suggests that Hume wrote the Abstract.