Cambridge University Press (1998)
Hume's discussion of the idea of space in his Treatise on Human Nature is fundamental to an understanding of his treatment of such central issues as the existence of external objects, the unity of the self, the relation between certainty and belief, and abstract ideas. Marina Frasca-Spada's rich and original study examines this difficult part of Hume's philosophical writings and connects it to eighteenth-century works in natural philosophy, mathematics and literature. Focusing on Hume's discussions of the infinite divisibility of extension, the origin of the idea of space, geometry, and the notion of a vacuum, she shows that the central questions of Hume's 'science of human nature' - what does the 'science of human nature' reveal about the mind and its operations? what is experience? - underlie all of these discussions. Her analysis points the way to a reassessment of the central current interpretative problems in Hume studies.