David Hume is a Scottish philosopher who is generally viewed as one of the most important English-speaking philosophers for his works "A Treatise of Human Nature," "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" and "An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals." Through these works, Hume established himself in Western philosophy with his contributions to the views of empiricism and skepticism.Continue Reading
"A Treatise of Human Nature" (1739–1740) is widely considered to be Hume's most important work. It is divided into three parts, of which the first investigates human cognition and argues for empiricism -- the view that all concepts in the human mind originate in experience of the outside world. The second part deals with emotions and free will. The final section is an enquiry into moral ideas and justice.
Hume later published "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" (1748), which was intended to be a revision of his previous Treatise, since this work had not been well received at the time of its publication. With "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding," Hume repackaged his ideas of empiricism and skepticism into a more condensed and accessible format. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant is known to have said that this book was responsible for waking him from what he described as his "dogmatic slumber."
"An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals" (1751) is Hume's main work in the field of ethics. His main claim in this work was that the foundation of morals was in human sentiment and not reason. That is, feelings of approval and disapproval when we contemplate actions or traits are what motivate our moral claims about them.
Another noteworthy work by Hume is his posthumously published "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion" (1779). In this book, Hume debates various arguments for the existence of God through a series of Socratic dialogues.Learn more about Philosophy