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Hume Studies Volume 29, Number 1, April 2003, pp. 143-149 Book Reviews DAVID HUME. An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding: A Critical Edition. Edited by Tom L. Beauchamp. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. Pp. cvii + 344. ISBN 0-19-825060-6 cloth, $75.00; ISBN 0-19-926634-4, paper, $35.00. (The paper version is scheduled for release in January 2004). DAVID HUME. An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (Oxford Philosophical Texts). Edited by Tom L. Beauchamp. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pp. ν + 296. ISBN 0-19-875248-2, paper, $12.95. Here we have a new edition of Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding , one that will become essential for scholars alongside the new Norton and Norton edition of Hume's Treatise.1 L. A. Selby-Bigge's nineteenth century edition (supplemented by P. Nidditch's emendations) provided a good text to nineteenth century standards—good enough for it to become the standard for many years. But times change, and we now, quite reasonably, ask for more. Beauchamp's new edition provides a text and apparatus that is a vast improvement; it will surely replace Selby-Bigge's as the common reference text for scholars and students. To be sure, scholars at least will not for many years be able to do without the latter's edition: so many Hume studies have come out over the years with the references to the pages of this edition, that we will still have to refer to the older edition. But students have a new and very useful edition. Volume 29, Number 1, April 2003 144 Book Reviews The critical edition for scholars provides for the first time a complete apparatus. Beauchamp has provided us with a complete history of the publication of the first Enquiry, including all the variants that occurred as Hume progressively modified the text. We have for first time laid out completely the material from the Treatise that Hume appropriated for his revised presentation of his philosophy. This will provide a good basis for all future discussion of the extent to which Hume revised his views between the earlier and the later work. Equally, the history of the text and its variants will provide a secure basis for future discussions of how and for what reasons Hume modified the text of the Enquiry as he produced new editions. Beauchamp has fully annotated all Hume's references and allusions, and has recorded various cross references and correspondences in the text. There is a complete list of the people and texts to which Hume made reference, together with a brief biographical note. There is a glossary of terms that might be puzzling, and besides the editor's thorough index to both Hume and the editorial material there is also reproduced Hume's own index. Throughout the paragraphs of Hume's text have been numbered. This will make reference back to the Selby-Bigge edition somewhat easier than it otherwise would be. The student's edition contains the same Humean text, but with much of the textual apparatus removed. What we have in its place is a slightly different set of annotations, together with a summary commentary for each section. I have used this text in an undergraduate seminar, and I have found these editorial comments extremely useful to both student and teacher. To the student , there is the glossary and references to persons cited. The brief commentaries and the detailed notes are very useful to the student, both for outlining the argument and covering material that one could never cover in detail in an undergraduate seminar. The outlines of the arguments are useful to the instructor, letting him or her deal with the more complicated issues and arguments, avoiding the usual need for explication de texte. The text itself is easy to read, and the numbering of the paragraphs makes references particularly easy. There have of course been lost things that one previously had found useful. The most significant of these, I think, has been Selby-Bigge's systematic comparison of the text of the Enquiries with that of the Treatise. Hume's own judgment that the Enquiries were in literary terms the better text is perhaps correct. But posterity has...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-9921
Print ISSN
0319-7336
Pages
pp. 143-149
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-26
Open Access
No
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