Hume on Curiosity

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (4):711-732 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

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.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,038

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Curiosity was Framed.Dennis Whitcomb - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):664-687.
Curiosity as a Moral Virtue.Elias Baumgarten - 2001 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 15 (2):169-184.
Hume’s Account of Curiosity and Motivation.Walter Brand - 2009 - Journal of Value Inquiry 43 (1):83-96.
Curiosity, Wonder and Education seen as Perspective Development.Paul Martin Opdal - 2001 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 20 (4):331-344.
Hume on testimony revisited.Axel Gelfert - 2010 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 13:60-75.
A treatise of human nature: a critical edition.David Hume - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by David Fate Norton & Mary J. Norton.
Paradoxes of pure curiosity.Neil Tennant - 1995 - Theory and Decision 38 (3):321-330.
Hume on morality.James Baillie - 2000 - New York: Routledge.

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-01-22

Downloads
149 (#126,626)

6 months
18 (#141,444)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Axel Gelfert
Technische Universität Berlin

Citations of this work

Deep Epistemic Vices.Ian James Kidd - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Research 43:43-67..
Hume’s practically epistemic conclusions?Hsueh Qu - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):501-524.
Hume's Constitutivist Response to Scepticism.Taro Okamura - 2024 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 11.
Constructing and validating a scale of inquisitive curiosity.Kathryn Iurino, Brian Robinson, Markus Christen, Paul Stey & Mark Alfano - 2018 - In Ilhan Inan, Lani Watson, Dennis Whitcomb & Safiye Yigit (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Curiosity. Rowman & Littlefield International.

Add more citations

References found in this work

An enquiry concerning human understanding.David Hume - 2000 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press USA. pp. 112.
Stability and justification in hume’s treatise.Louis Loeb - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (1):233-235.

View all 21 references / Add more references