Hume’s Enlightenment Tract: The Unity and Purpose of An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001), xiii, 351.

Paperback edition, 2004.

This is the first full book-length study in forty years of David Hume’s Enquiry concerning Human Understanding-which, contrary to its author’s expressed wishes, long lived in the shadow of its predecessor A Treatise of Human Nature. Stephen Buckle presents the Enquiryin a fresh light, aiming to raise it to its rightful position in the history of philosophy. He argues that the Enquiry is not, as so often assumed, a mere collection of watered-down extracts from the earlier work. It is, rather, a coherent work with a unified argument; and, when this argument is grasped as a whole, the Enquiry shows itself to be the best introduction to the features of its author’s general philosophy.

A pleasure to read… This book clearly presents the roles of philosophical thought in the various phenomena constituting the Enlightenment, and so will be of value to scholars and students of Hume, and will be of special value to people who are teaching the Enquiry for the first time and desire to understand how it all ‘hangs together.’–Eighteenth-Century Thought

Table of Contents

1. 1 Approaching the Text Clearing the Ground

2. Circumstances and Aim

3. Experimentalism and Scepticism

1. 2 The Argument Of the Different Species of Philosophy

2. Of the Origin of Ideas

3. Of the Association of Ideas

4. Sceptical Doubts concerning the Operations of the Understanding

5. Sceptical Solution of these Doubts

6. Of Probability

7. Of the Idea of Necessary Connexion

8. Of Liberty and Necessity

9. Of the Reason of Animals

10. Of Miracles

11. Of a Particular Providence and of a Future State

12. Of the Academical or Sceptical Philosophy

3 Conclusion Hume’s Enlightenment Tract

Bibliography, Index