In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Hume Studies Volume 33, Number 2, November 2007, pp. 305-312 Hume and the Nortons on the Passions and Morality in Hume's Treatise JACQUELINE TAYLOR In his introduction to the Green and Grose edition of Hume's Treatise (first appearing in 1874, with several subsequent editions), T. H. Green characterized the aim of history as that of distilling "from the chaos of events a connected series of ruling actions and beliefs—the achievements of great men and great epochs"; history is thus properly concerned with a "reach of the hopes and institutions which make history a progress instead of a cycle. " Similarly, the history of philosophy properly done shows that metaphysical enquiry "is really progressive and has a real history, but it is history represented by a few great names," one of them that of David Hume.1 Green's critical introduction is an example of that genre of the history of philosophy that Richard Rorty called "Geistesgeschichte."2 This genre allows the historian to reconstruct the past according to the story he wishes to tell. Green himself emphasizes that the history of philosophy charts a progress "towards a fully articulated conception of the world as rational," a progress charted by delineating the failures of the great philosophers; Hume brings to an end the philosophical system of empiricism. This historiographical method required assessing Hume, not as a man, but as the vehicle "of a system of thought. "His arguments are to be followed "without divergence into ... history, without remarks... on any of the secondary influences which affected" his writings, or on the works influenced by his writings.3 With respect to Hume's moral philosophy, Green's analysis began a trend of viewing Hume as an advocate of hedonism. As Norman Kemp Smith Jacqueline Taylor is Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton St., San Francisco, CA 94117, U.S.A. E-mail: jtaylor2@usfca.edu. 306 Jacqueline Taylor reminds us (in The Philosophy of David Hume), this trend only began to reverse in the twentieth century, with E. B. McGilvary's important 1903 article, "Altruism in Hume's Treatise.'"1 The Norton and Norton critical edition of the Treatise exhibits nothing of the narrow and singleminded interpretive stance taken by Green. The editors' annotations provide a veritable treasure trove of historical influences, ranging from the ancient sources Hume read to the moderns, and including many names not remembered as among the greats. As the Nortons tell us, they held as a "useful ideal" the intention to illuminate rather than to interpret. For example, they identify the various authors to whom Hume alludes. They also helpfully fill out the intellectual background, especially the debates and developments with which Hume would have been familiar, and they quote from, rather than paraphrase, the relevant works, in order to preserve "their semantic and conceptual character" (2:687). These identifications and quotations allow us to read these materials more as Hume himself might have done. With these valuable annotations, scholars can now reconstruct more fully the debates that Hume assumed or participated in, and thus have a clearer appreciation of what may be distinctive in his thought. In this brief comment, I mention just a few of the annotations, to highlight the range of scholarship relevant to Books 2 and 3 of the Treatise. I will then discuss part of David Norton's "Historical Account" combined with a comment on the lack of annotation on some sections in Book 2, sections I find important for understanding the extent to which Hume is challenging the philosophical commitments of Francis Hutcheson and John Locke. The Annotations The annotations provided on Hume's discussions of animals in Book 2 of the Treatise should prove useful to scholars who are devoting increasing attention to this area of Hume's thought. At T 2.1.12, Hume argues that animals experience pride and that the passion originates in them as it does in the human mind, by a double association of ideas and impressions. The Nortons helpfully list several anatomists who draw analogies with animals, including Willis, Douglas, Gassendi, Borelli, Perrault, and Monro. Among those attributing passions to animals we find listed Addison, Watts, Shaftesbury...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1947-9921
Print ISSN
0319-7336
Pages
pp. 305-312
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-26
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.