David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature

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This ‘untimely review’ of Hume’s Treatise is written as if the book had just been published. I use this fiction to argue that the Treatise is a more fundamental critique of the concept of reason than most readers have thought. Hume’s analysis of human reasoning is grounded in empirical psychology, in which he made significant discoveries. He presents a non-propositional theory of desires, in which choice can be neither rational nor irrational. He shows that the idea that reason has authority, either in morality or science, has no substance. I argue that this critique remains valid and is not self-defeating.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008


  • Hume
  • Reason
  • Untimely review

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