Selected Essays Hume

A close comparison of their edition with that of 1777 shows, however, that it falls far short of the standards of accuracy that are adopted today in critical-text editing.2 There are hundreds of instances in which it departs, either intentionally or unintentionally, from the text of the 1777 edition.Comparing Green and Grose’s “New Edition,” in the 1889 printing, with the 1777 text, we find at least 100 instances of incorrect wording (words dropped, added, or changed), 175 instances of incorrect punctuation, and 75 errors in capitalization.Hume’s essays have many long footnotes, and there are at least 7 instances where Green and Grose, without warning or explanation, print not the 1777 version of the footnote but a different version from an earlier edition, producing substantial variations in wording, punctuation, and spelling besides those tabulated above.

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edited and with a Foreword, Notes, and Glossary by Eugene F. “We have Hume’s own word that the definitive statement of his philosophy is not to be found in the youthful Treatise of Human Nature but in the 1777 posthumous edition of his collected works entitled Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. There are thirty-nine essays in the posthumous, 1777, edition of (1741–42).

Hume’s peculiarities of spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have been retained, because these often bear on the meaning of the text.3 The reader should know, however, that there are some minor departures in the present edition from that of 1777: (1) typographical errors in the 1777 edition have been corrected silently; (2) Greek passages are reprinted as they appear in Green and Grose, with corrections and accents; (3) footnotes are designated by arabic numerals rather than by Hume’s symbols (in cases where these designations are adjacent to the punctuation mark, they have been relocated so that they follow, rather than precede, the mark); (4) whereas Hume’s longer footnotes are lettered and collected at the end of the volume in the 1777 edition, the present edition puts them at the bottom of the appropriate page, as was the practice in editions of the up to 1770 (with the change in location, it was no longer appropriate to capitalize the first word of these footnotes); (5) whereas two sizes of capitals as well as lowercase letters are used in essay titles in the 1777 edition, titles here are in level capitals; (6) the “long s” has been eliminated throughout; and (7) the running quotation marks in the left margin have been omitted, and the use of quotation marks has been made to conform to modern practice. The editor’s notes are enclosed in brackets to distinguish them from Hume’s own notes.

Information that I have added to Hume’s footnotes is also bracketed.

This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Foreword and editorial additions © 1985, 1987 by Eugene F. This book was manufactured in the United States of America. When Hume accompanied the Earl of Hertford to Paris in 1763 for a stay of twenty-six months as Secretary of the British Embassy and finally as Chargé d’Affaires, he discovered that his fame there surpassed anything he might have expected.

Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. Frontispiece portrait of Hume by Allan Ramsay 1754, used by permission from H. He was loaded with civilities “from men and women of all ranks and stations.” Fame was not the only benefit that Hume enjoyed from his publications.

These bibliographical details are important because they show how highly the essays were regarded by Hume himself and by many others up to the present century.

Over the past seventy years, however, the essays have been overshadowed, just as the 16—Liberty Fund has made a neglected side of Hume’s thought accessible once again to the modern reader.

Several new essays, as well as other writings, were added to this collection along the way.9 As we see, the essays were by no means of casual interest to Hume.

The 1758 edition, for the first time, grouped the essays under the heading “Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary” and divided them into Parts I and II.

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