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Hume Studies Volume 33, Number 2, November 2007, pp. 348-351 Emilio Mazza and Emanuele Ronchetti, eds. New Essays on David Hume. Milan: FrancoAngeli, 2007. Pp. 480. ISBN 9788846483362, Paperback, € 27.00. New Essays on David Hume is an impressive collection of twenty-one essays by distinguished scholars covering an extensive range of topics concerning Hume's philosophy, politics, religion, and history presented in diverse methods and styles including dialogue, biography, intellectual history, historical-contextual interpretation and philosophically-oriented history of philosophy. The collection aims to be "a good reflection of the vividness and diversity" of contemporary scholarship and to "foster fresh and innovative Humean explorations" (13). In this manner, the volume is "closely connected to the activities and intentions" of a 1967 international special issue of the "Rivista di storia della filosofÃ-a" devoted entirely to Hume. The special issue of the "Revista," edited by one of Italy's "first and foremost" Hume scholars Mario Dal Pra, marked a "turning point" of Hume's career in Italy: a positive culmination of the "first season of Italian Humean studies" (7-9). Forty years later, the New Essays advances a new assessment of the current state of Hume scholarship. Both the "Revista" issue and the New Essays feature eminent international scholars. Both works highlight the importance of Hume's intellectual biography and his reception in different times and places with an emphasis on close textual analysis and attention paid to texts as well as subjects, "which if not quite neglected, were not traditionally regarded as mainstream" as well as the revisiting of traditional controversial topics (11). The volume divides into four parts: (1) "of the understanding"; (2) "of morals and criticism"; (3) "of history, politics, and religion"; and (4) "Hume novelties." A brief overview of the essays in each part is provided before an evaluation of the volume as a whole. Part one consists of six essays. In the first essay, John P. Wright clarifies Norman Kemp Smith's groundbreaking naturalistic interpretation of Hume's philosophy presented in his 1905 paper, "The Naturalism of David Hume," andagaininhis 1941 book, The Philosophy of David Hume, while Marina Frasca-Spada, in the next essay, claims that Hume's treatment of simple perceptions is an interesting mess "caused by his typically unsystematic, but repeated and deep probing of new issues concerning human knowledge" (39). The third essay, by Catherine Kemp, explores what Hume means by "a contrariety of events and its role in experience" (56), and Peter Kail's chapter examines Hume's account of animal reasoning against the background of some remarks made in the later works of Leibniz. In essay five, Dale Jacquette concludes that "Hume has strong, defensible... reasons for rejecting the divisibility of Euclidean lines and line segments into infinitely many... points as logically consistent" (82), and finally, Emilio Mazza defends Hume's treatment Hume Studies Book Reviews 349 of skepticism as a "process" that captures "the 'native bent' of his genius, that is, his indulgence in 'starting difficulties, and perplexing received opinions'" (103). Six essays on morals and criticism make up the second part of the book. The first two essays deal with Francis Hutcheson's influence on Hume. James Moore argues that the relation between Hutcheson and Hume's moral philosophies can be better understood by supposing that Hutcheson saw himself as a Stoic "of some sort" while Hume was a skeptic of the Epicurean tradition (134). Alternatively, Luigi Turco examines evidence to show Hutcheson's "special influence" over Hume and points out similarities between the moral doctrines of both authors (174). Charles Pigden challenges the traditional interpretation of Hume's moral philosophy as emotivist and non-cognitivist in the next essay, while James Harris explores themes underlying the essays "The Epicurean," "The Stoic," "The Platonist" and "The Sceptic" to mark the transition between Hume's moral and political philosophy. Hume's experience with particular works of art is the subject of the next essay, by Roger Emerson. Emerson argues that Hume was "a man with limited aesthetic sensibilities and interests" and that his interest in art was mostly a tool to illustrate his philosophical theories (256-7). In the final essay of this part, Flavio Baroncelli presents...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-9921
Print ISSN
0319-7336
Pages
pp. 348-351
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-26
Open Access
No
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