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Summary Hume's ethics emphasizes our common humanity and our capacity to develop moral sensibilities in response to varying circumstances. He argues that moral distinctions arise from our sympathizing with the effects of character traits on those who have them and the people they interact with. The resulting judgments can have intersubjective validity both because they are rooted in common human nature, and because we can correct our sentimental responses by taking up a "general point of view" in place of a more partial perspective. Hume's aesthetics and politics also reflect the idea that corrected and cultivated passions provide a basis for sound normative judgments. He argues that discerning critics can provide a standard of taste, and that such taste is a significant aspect of human life and character. Although various political parties have claimed him as a supporter, Hume contends that philosophers should be unpartisan. He argues against both Lockean and Hobbesian contract theories and limits the right to resist sovereigns to extreme cases.
Key works

Hume's Treatise of Human Nature contains his initial exposition of his theory of the passions and morals. He later published an edited account of the former in A Dissertation on the Passions. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals is Hume's mature statement of his moral theory and the work that he believed to be his best. Although the above works include some material relevant to his aesthetics and political philosophy, the Essays, Moral, Political and Literary contain lengthier discussions of these aspects of Hume's thought. Also relevant, particularly to Hume's political views, is his History of England. The Clarendon Press has published critical editions of the Treatise (Norton & Norton 2007), the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (Beauchamp 2006), and the Dissertation on the Passions (together with The Natural History of Religion) (Hume 2007). Liberty Fund offers editions of both the Essays (Miller 1987) and History of England (Todd 1983).

Introductions Norton & Taylor 2006 and Radcliffe 2008 include many helpful articles that could serve as introductions to Hume's ethics, aesthetics, and social and political philosophy. Lists of the many book-length treatments of Hume's ethics and politics are available online at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Zalta 2014, open-access) and The Routledge Encylopedia of Philosophy (Craig 1996, subscription required). Townsend 2000 is notable as a comprehensive study of Hume's aesthetics. Árdal 1966 is a classic treatment of Hume's theory of the passions.
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  1. Facts and Values After David Hume.Pentti Määttänen - 2023 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 36 (1):17-29.
    According to David Hume values do not belong to the world of facts and cannot be derived from facts. However, Hume’s argument is based on questionable presumptions. His conception of experience as sense perception is erroneous. On contemporary standards it is simply false because sense organs are not channels that passively receive inputs from the world. It is too narrow as it does not take the role of action into account. Further, Hume’s argument is based on the dichotomy between external (...)
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  2. Précis of The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Analysis.
    In this précis of The Practical Origins of Ideas: Genealogy as Conceptual Reverse-Engineering (OUP 2021), I summarize the keys claims of the book. The book describes, develops, and defends an underappreciated methodological tradition: the tradition of pragmatic genealogy, which aims to identify what our loftiest and most inscrutable conceptual practices do for us by telling strongly idealized, but still historically informed stories about what might have driven people to adopt and elaborate them as they did. What marks out this methodological (...)
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  3. The dark side of recognition: Bernard Mandeville and the morality of pride.Robin Douglass - 2021 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-17.
    This article reconstructs Bernard Mandeville’s pride-centred theory of recognition and advances two main arguments. First, I maintain that Mandeville really did regard pride as a vice and took the prevalence of this passion as evidence of our morally compromised nature. Mandeville’s account of pride may have been indebted to French neo-Augustinian moralists, yet I show that the moral connotations he associated with the passion are based on a naturalistic analysis of our moral psychology and do not depend upon endorsing any (...)
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  4. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature.Angela M. Coventry (ed.) - forthcoming - Broadview Press.
    In his autobiography, David Hume famously noted that A Treatise of Human Nature “fell dead-born from the press.” Yet it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophical works written in the English language. Within, Hume offers an empirically informed account of human nature, addressing a range of topics such as space, time, causality, the external world, personal identity, passions, freedom, necessity, virtue, and vice. This edition includes not only the full text of the Treatise but also Hume’s (...)
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  5. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature.Angela M. Coventry - forthcoming - Broadview Press.
    In his autobiography, David Hume famously noted that A Treatise of Human Nature “fell dead-born from the press.” Yet it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophical works written in the English language. Within, Hume offers an empirically informed account of human nature, addressing a range of topics such as space, time, causality, the external world, personal identity, passions, freedom, necessity, virtue, and vice. This edition includes not only the full text of the Treatise but also Hume’s (...)
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  6. The Probability of the Existence of World after Death and the Doctrine of Rewards and Punishments of Acts in the Hereafter in the Philosophy of David Hume.Farideh Lazemi, Masoud Omid & Majid Sadremajles - 2022 - Philosophical Investigations 16 (40):360-377.
    In the field of philosophy of religion, the issue of the existence of world after death and the doctrine of rewards and punishments in the hereafter is one of the important and confusing issues as persuades theologians and philosophers of religion to present various and contradictory views about it. Meanwhile, despite David Hume's considerable reputation as one of the most important philosophical critics of religion, the secular irreligious significance of this philosopher's views, especially on the issue of induction and probable (...)
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  7. Self-help on the go: Sketches of ‘le bon David’ and the good life. [REVIEW]Paul Russell - 2021 - Times Literary Supplement 6182.
    THE GREAT GUIDE What David Hume can teach us about being human and living well 328pp. Princeton University Press. £20 (US $24.95). Julian Baggini "... The most successful aspect of The Great Guide is the “Hop-On Hop-Off” intellectual tour that it offers. The reader is taken around the various locations where Hume’s life and ideas developed, moving from country to country, city to city, and stopping off at a few stately homes en route. This tour begins with Hume’s birthplace and (...)
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  8. The Plausibility of Moral Error Theories.Casey Alton Knight - unknown
    The project that resulted in this work had two main goals. The first was to sort out the most plausible form of the moral error theory, the view made popular by J.L. Mackie in his Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. Second, I aimed to determine the extent of its plausibility. The first three chapters of this dissertation are the result of my attempt to accomplish the first goal, and the last two chapters are a consequence of the second. In the (...)
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  9. A philosopher’s economist: Hume and the rise of capitalism.Gent Carrabregu - 2022 - Contemporary Political Theory 21 (4):182-186.
  10. Die Unmöglichkeit von Herrschaftslegitimation durch Einwilligung.Moritz Heepe - 2011 - Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie 97 (4):479-497.
    This study analyses central concepts and arguments of Hume’s critique of the social contract theory, mainly presented in the Essay “Of the Original Contract” published in 1748. Hume’s work is interpreted here in broader perspective as an anti-voluntaristic argument in political philosophy that helped to form and cause the transition from natural law to utilitarianism in later British enlightenment. Therefore on the one hand the critical notions of consent and political obligation and on the other hand Hume’s carefully considered arguments (...)
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  11. David Hume versus Adam Smith: Sobre la fuente de la normatividad en el sentimentalismo moral.María A. Carrasco - 2020 - Tópicos: Revista de Filosofía 59:341-366.
    Despite the countless similarities between David Hume’s and Adam Smith’s moral theories, many people have lately argued that the Theory of Moral Sentiments can be read as a critical response to Hume’s ethics. In this paper I contend that the most important difference between these sentimentalist philosophers has to do with the source and nature of morality’s normative authority, which in turn determines what is a legitimate moral reason or what is morality properly speaking.
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  12. Hume's Influence on Madison’s Policy of Religious Tolerance.Adéla Rádková - 2018 - Pro-Fil 19 (2):40-54.
    Článek má za cíl ukázat podobnosti mezi Humovou a Madisonovou politickou filozofií v oblasti politiky náboženské tolerance. Humův kritický postoj k církvím a k náboženství je dnes v interpretační literatuře velmi známý. Často se však zapomíná na důsledky, které z tohoto postoje plynou pro jeho politickou filozofii. Hume se totiž na mnoha místech svého rozsáhlého filozofického díla zamýšlel nad otázkou, jak řídit stát nábožensky roztříštěný do církví a sekt. Podobně se i jeden z nejvýznamnějších otců zakladatelů, James Madison, obával názorově (...)
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  13. The Opinion of Mankind: Sociability and the Theory of the State from Hobbes to Smith. [REVIEW]Karl W. Schweizer - 2022 - The European Legacy 27 (7-8):862-864.
    An impressive scholarly achievement, The Opinion of Mankind aims to highlight the depth and originality of David Hume and Adam Smith as political theorists by demonstrating how their respective wri...
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  14. Book Review: The Great Guide: What David Hume Can Teach Us about Being Human and Living Well by Julian Baggini. [REVIEW]Elizabeth C. Shaw, Staff & James Chamberlain - 2022 - Review of Metaphysics 75 (4):809-810.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Summaries and CommentsElizabeth C. Shaw, Staff*, and James ChamberlainBAGGINI, Julian. The Great Guide: What David Hume Can Teach Us about Being Human and Living Well. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2021. 319 pp. Cloth, $24.95; paper, $19.95Throughout this engaging and accessible book, Julian Baggini encourages his readers to treat the life and works of David Hume as a "model of how to live." Baggini presents summaries of Hume's most (...)
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  15. The Politics of Religion in Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature.Jonathan H. Krause - 2021 - Review of Metaphysics 75 (1):23-56.
  16. Hume. A Very Short Introduction by James A. Harris.Moritz Baumstark - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (2):315-318.
    This is not the first Very Short Introduction to Hume. An earlier introduction to Hume by the eminent twentieth-century philosopher A. J. Ayer was included in the series in 2000 and is now replaced by James Harris’s volume.1 The choice of Harris by the editors at Oxford University Press was an obvious one, since he published a full-scale intellectual biography of Hume in 2015.2 The shorter book is not, however, merely a shortened version of the larger work. Rather, it was (...)
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  17. The Great Guide: What David Hume can teach us about Being Human and Living Well by Julian Baggini.Lorraine L. Besser - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (2):311-314.
    In this book, Baggini explores Hume’s life and philosophy in an effort to decipher what contemporary, non-academic, audiences might take away from it about what it means to be human and to live well. This is a daunting project for a couple of reasons. First, in comparison with other major figures in the history of philosophy such as Aristotle, Hume does not himself give much direct guidance on these topics. His writings purport to present analyses of human nature, the influences (...)
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  18. Hume and the Royal African.Max Grober - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (2):285-309.
    Abstract:A previously overlooked letter written by David Hume to the Comtesse de Boufflers in 1766, read alongside an unpublished letter to Hume from the British official John Roberts, sheds important new light on Hume’s views on race. The letters concern a famous episode in eighteenth-century history, the enslavement and redemption of the “African Prince,” William Ansah Sessarakoo, and his subsequent time as a celebrity in London in 1749–50. Hume’s account of these events, based on Roberts’s letter but re-shaped through a (...)
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  19. A Peculiar Mix: On the Place of Curiosity within Hume’s Treatise.Gabriel Watts - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (2):261-283.
    Abstract:In this paper I argue that Hume’s decision to include an account of curiosity within his theory of the passions is what gives Book 2 of the Treatise its distinctive shape, in which an account of what Hume calls “indirect” passions precedes an account of the nature of the will, which is itself followed by an account of the “direct” passions, then curiosity. On my reading, Hume concludes his theory of the passions with an account of curiosity because this is (...)
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  20. Structure and Feeling: A Unifying Reading of Hume’s Two Accounts of Pride.Åsa Carlson - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (2):203-230.
    Abstract:Hume’s theory of pride has been dismissed due to the contingent relation between passion and object. But why did Hume state the theory as he did? Why did he give two accounts of pride, one holistic and one atomistic? This paper considers Hume’s reasons for giving two accounts, and how he unified them. The holistic account enables Hume to explain how moral distinctions are made, whereas the atomistic allows him to anchor morality in human nature. The accounts are unified by (...)
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  21. Aprender a vivir en un mundo emocionalizado. Una mirada a Hume.Julio Seoane Pinilla - 2022 - Revista de Filosofía 47 (2):311-327.
    Hoy vivimos en un mundo emocionalizado donde las discusiones éticas, políticas o culturales y estéticas se ofrecen siempre en forma de emociones y es difícil encontrar un espacio para la reflexión razonada. Creo que mirar la reflexión de Hume sobre la estética nos puede ayudar aquí pues aunque sobre gustos nada hay escrito, Hume permite construir un espacio de discusión acerca de cuestiones evidentemente sentimentales.
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  22. Aux sources de l'anthropologie positive: Auguste Comte lecteur de David Hume.Fatma Moumni - 2013 - Paris: L'Harmattan.
  23. La acción y el juicio moral en David Hume.Alejandro Ordieres - 2013 - México, D.F.: ITAM, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.
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  24. David Hume.Andrew Valls - 2014 - In Peter F. Cannavò & Joseph H. Lane (eds.), Engaging nature: environmentalism and the political theory canon. The MIT Press.
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  25. Toward a Humean true religion: genuine theism, moderate hope, and practical morality.Andre C. Willis - 2015 - University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press.
    An examination of David Hume's philosophy of religion that situates his conception "true religion" within the context of his overall science of human nature, his rejection of popular religion, and his Ciceronian influence"--Provided by publisher.
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  26. The essence of David Hume: on religion, morals, and economics.Henry Lewis (ed.) - 2014 - Edinburg, Virginia: Axios Press.
  27. GONZÁLEZ, ANA MARTA, Sociedad civil y normatividad: la teoría social de David Hume, Dykinson, Madrid, 2013, 266 pp. [REVIEW]Margarita Mauri - 2015 - Anuario Filosófico:188-190.
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  28. Auguste Comte et la pensée de David Hume.Fatma Moumni - 2016 - Paris: L'Harmattan.
    1. Empirisme positivisme : deux philosophes anthropologiques des limites et du devenir -- L'homme des origines -- Fétichisme et dysharmonie avec le monde -- La tension instinctive au connaître -- Contrer la mort : action et réussite : l'homme chasseur et l'homme prévoyant -- Histoire : " probabilitaire " ou science de l'histoire -- Périodisation et quête de la causalité -- Promesse ou loi -- Les discontinuités de l'histoire -- La rupture du loyalisme : partialité et universalité -- Comte ou (...)
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  29. David Hume's humanity: the philosophy of common life and its limits.Scott Yenor - 2016 - New York, NY: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Scott Yenor argues that David Hume's reputation as a skeptic is greatly exaggerated. In David Hume's Humanity, Yenor shows how Hume's skepticism is a moment leading Hume to defend a philosophy that is grounded in the inescapable assumptions of common life. Humane virtues reflect the proper reaction to the complex mixture of human faculties that define the human condition. These gentle virtues best find their home in the modern commercial republic, of which England is the leading example. Hume's defense of (...)
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  30. David Hume and a Treatise of human nature.Maryellen Lo Bosco - 2016 - New York: Britannica Educational Publishing.
  31. Za normata, shestoto chuvstvo i "neznaĭno-kakvo": esteticheski eseta vŭrkhu Vkusa.Lidia Denkova, David Hume & Francis Hutcheson (eds.) - 2017 - Sofii︠a︡: Nov bŭlgarski universitet.
  32. Altering Perspective: Hume on Moral Judgement.Helmer Stoel - 2018 - In Veronika Teryngerová & Hans Rainer Sepp (eds.), Ethics in politics? Verlag Traugott Bautz.
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  33. Nouvelle [sic] études matérialistes sur la morale: Hume, Rousseau, Dewey, Russell, Marx, Gramsci.Yvon Quiniou - 2018 - Paris: Éditions Kimé.
    Dans ce nouveau livre consacré à la morale, Yvon Quiniou poursuit et approfondit la réflexion matérialiste qu'il lui consacre depuis longtemps. Il le fait ici en s'appuyant sur des auteurs dont la présence pourra surprendre, mais qu'il considère comme proches du matérialisme : Hume, Rousseau, mais aussi le pragmatiste Dewey, le rationaliste intransigeant Russell, ainsi que Marx et Gramsci, dont il marque fortement l'originalité sur la question des valeurs. Car ces auteurs ont bien en commun de prêter une forte attention, (...)
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  34. Essays, Moral, Political and Literary (selections).David Hume - 2018 - In David Hume on Morals, Politics, and Society. Yale University Press.
  35. An enquiry concerning the principles of morals (selections).David Hume - 2018 - In David Hume on Morals, Politics, and Society. Yale University Press.
  36. Hume and the common sense philosophers.James A. Harris - 2018 - In Charles Bradford Bow (ed.), Common Sense in the Scottish Enlightenment. Oxford University Press.
  37. A common sense response to Hume's moral atheism : Reid on morality and theism.Esther Engels Kroeker - 2018 - In Charles Bradford Bow (ed.), Common Sense in the Scottish Enlightenment. Oxford University Press.
  38. Die Verinnerlichung der sozialen Natur: zum Verhältnis von Freiheit und Einfühlung in der Sozialpsychologie des frühen Liberalismus bei Locke, Shaftesbury, Hume und Smith.Dirk Schuck - 2019 - Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag.
  39. Ethics for beginners: 52 "big ideas" from 32 great minds.Peter Kreeft - 2019 - South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine's Press.
    One universal anonymous sage : the Rta/Tao/Logos -- Four sages from the East. The Hindu tradition : the four wants of man -- Buddha : Nirvana -- Confucius : social harmony -- Lao Tzu : nature's way -- Three sages from the West. Moses : divine law -- Jesus : agape love -- Muhammad : "Islam" -- Three classic Greek founders of philosophy. Socrates : the primacy of wisdom ("Virtue is knowledge") -- Plato: No double standard : ethics and politics (...)
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  40. Hume on the minds of women.Katharina Paxman & Kristen Blair - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  41. Hume's moral philosophy and psychology.Lorraine L. Besser - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  42. Hume and the philosophy of law.Neil MacArthur - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  43. Hume's moral sentimentalism.James Baillie - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  44. Hume on moral responsibility and free will.Tamas Demeter - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
  45. Hume on motives and action.Rachel Cohon - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
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  46. Passions and sympathy in Hume's philosophy.Alessio Vaccari - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
  47. Hume and the ancients.Lívia Guimarães - 2019 - In Angela Michelle Coventry & Alex Sager (eds.), The Humean Mind. Routledge.
  48. Personal Identity as Political System in David Hume.Spartaco Pupo & Italy - 2020 - In James Beauregard, Giusy Gallo & Claudia Stancati (eds.), The person at the crossroads: a philosophical approach. Vernon Press.
  49. Empirismus und Ästhetik: Zur deutschsprachigen Rezeption von Hume, Hutcheson, Home und Burke im 18. Jahrhundert.Lore Knapp - 2022 - De Gruyter.
  50. The Guise of the Good: A Philosophical History.Francesco Orsi - forthcoming - Routledge.
    This is the first book to trace the doctrine of the guise of the good throughout the history of Western philosophy. It offers a chronological narrative exploring how the doctrine was formulated, the arguments for and against it, and the broader role it played in the thought of different philosophers. -/- In recent years there has been a rich debate about whether value judgment or value perception must form an essential part of mental states such as emotions and desires, and (...)
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1 — 50 / 3903