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Some Sources for Hume's Opening Remarks to Treatise LIVJII Graham Solomon Hume opens Book I, Part IV, Section III of the Treatise with these remarks: Several moralists have recommended it as an excellent method ofbecoming acquainted with our own hearts, and knowing our progress in virtue, to recollect our dreams in a morning, and examine them with the same rigour, that we wou'd our most serious and deliberate actions. Our character is the same throughout, say they, and appears best where artifice, fear, and policy have no place, and men can neither be hypocrites with themselves nor others. The generosity, or baseness of our temper, our meekness or cruelty, our courage or pusilanimity, influence the fictions of the imagination with the most unbounded liberty, and discover themselves in the mostglaring colours. Who were these moralists? One looks in vain in the work of Malebranche, Locke, Shaftesbury and Hutcheson for such a recommendation. Did anyone make that recommendation? One moralist who did was "John Shadow," in a letter to Joseph Addison published in The Spectator, no. 586, 27 August 1714. Addison introduces Shadow's letter with the remark that it "is built upon a thought that is new, and very well carried on; for which Reasons I shall give it to the Publick without Alteration, Addition, or Amendment." I quote at length, for easy comparison with Hume: Sir, It was a good Piece of Advice which Pythagoras gave to his Scholars. That every Night before they slept they should examine what theyhad been a doing that Day, and so discover what Actions were worthy of Pursuit to Morrow, and what little Vices were to be prevented from slipping unawares into a Habit. If I might second the Philosopher's Advice, it should be mine, That in a morning before my Scholar rose, he should consider what he had been about that Night, and with the Volume XVI Number 1 57 GRAHAM SOLOMON same Strictness, as if the Condition, he has believed himself to be in, was real. Such a Scrutiny into the Actions ofhis Fancy must be of considerable Advantage, for this Reason, Because the Circumstances which a Man imagines himself in during Sleep, are generally such as entirely favour his Inclinations good or bad, and give him imaginary Opportunities of pursuingthem to the utmost; so thathis Temper will lye fairly open to his View, while he considers howitis moved when free from those Constraints which the Accidents ofreal Life put it under. Dreams are certainly the Result of our waking Thoughts, and our daily Hopes and Fears are what give the mind such nimble Relishes of Pleasure, and such severe Touches ofPain, in its Midnight Rambles. AMan that murders his Enemy, or deserts his Friend in a Dream, had need to guard his Temper against Revenge and Ingratitude, and take heed that he be not tempted to do a vile thing in Pursuit of false, or the Neglect of true Honour ... I think it has been observed in the Course of your Papers, how much one's Happiness or Misery may depend upon the Imagination: ofwhich Truth those strange Workings ofFancy in Sleep are no inconsiderable Instances; so that not only the Advantage a Man has ofmaking Discoveries ofhimself, but a Regard to his own Ease or Disquiet, may induce him to accept ofmy Advice ... Shadow has been identified as the poet John Byrom by various of the later editors of The Spectator? Of these, D. F. Bond footnotes Byrom's reference to Pythagoras, noting the publication in English of André Dacier's The Life ofPythagoras, with his Symbolism and Golden Verses; together with the Life ofHierocles, and his Commentaries upon the Verses. Bond notes Hierodes' comments on the following Verses: Never suffer Sleep to close thy Eye-lids, after thy going to Bed, Till thou hast examin'd by thy Reason all thy Actions of the Day Wherein have I done amiss? What have I done? What have I omitted that I ought to have done? If in this Examination, thou find that thou hast done amiss, reprimand thy self severely for it: And if thou has done any Good, rejoice. Dacier cites Porphyry and Marcus Aurelius...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-9921
Print ISSN
0319-7336
Pages
pp. 57-66
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-26
Open Access
No
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