Hume concludes Book II of his Treatise of Human Nature with a section on the passion of curiosity, ‘that love of truth, which was the first source of all our enquiries’. At first sight, this characterisation of curiosity – as the motivating factor in that specifically human activity that is the pursuit of knowledge – may seem unoriginal. However, when Hume speaks of the ‘source of all our enquiries’, he is referring both to the universal human pursuit of knowledge and (...) to his own philosophical project. Seen in this light, his discussion of curiosity takes on a new significance, as it weaves together elements of his systematic account of human nature – notably, his theory of cognition and motivation – with observations about the pursuit of philosophy as well as the progress of the arts and sciences. In the present paper, I offer a reconstruction of Hume’s view on curiosity and its role in cognition and inquiry. (shrink)
The principle with which Hume accounts for the seemingly unaccountable pleasure that we take in tragic drama is placed in its theoretical context, and the various metaphors that Hume uses in describing this principle are examined. These metaphors are then brought to bear on an interpretative controversy concerning the result of Hume's principle for the subordinate passion. It is argued that, while Hume's considered position should have been that this passion is destroyed at the end of the process, it is (...) most likely that Hume did not consider the question very carefully, so as to form a definite answer in his own mind. (shrink)
But in many orders of beauty, particularly those of the ﬁner arts, it is requisite to employ much reasoning, in order to feel the proper sentiment; and a false relish may frequently be corrected by argument and reﬂection. There are just grounds to conclude, that moral beauty partakes much of this latter species, and demands the assistance of our intellectual faculties, in order to give it a suitable inﬂuence on the human mind (EPM, 173).
TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATIONS OF HUME HAVE MISCONSTRUED HIS UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF PLEASURE, AND HOW PLEASURE IS DEPLOYED IN HIS VALUE THEORY. I RECTIFY THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS BY EXPLICATING THE ROLE WHICH PLEASURE PLAYS IN JUDGMENTS OF VALUE ON THE HUMEAN ANALYSIS. IT IS SHOWN THAT PLEASURE HAS ALL THE FEATURES THAT MAKE IT RELEVANT TO VALUE THEORY AND MORAL PHILOSOPHY, THAT HUME'S UNDERSTANDING OF PLEASURE IS MUCH MORE SOPHISTICATED THAN HAS BEEN GENERALLY REALIZED, AND THAT HUME'S CONCEPTION OF (...) PLEASURE IS WELL-INTEGRATED WITH HIS VALUE THEORY. (shrink)