The volume has rarely been in print, and the last critical edition was published in This edition contains the thirty-nine essays included in Essays, Moral, and Literary, that made up Volume I of the posthumous Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects.
Biography[ edit ] Early life and education[ edit ] Hume was the second of two sons born to Joseph Home of Ninewellsan advocate, and his wife The Hon.
Hume's father died when Hume was a child, just after his second birthday, and he was raised by his mother, who never remarried. Throughout his life Hume, who never married, spent time occasionally at his family home at Ninewells in Berwickshirewhich had belonged to his family since the sixteenth century.
His finances as a young man were very "slender". His family was not rich, and, as a younger son, he had little patrimony to live on. He was therefore forced to make a living somehow.
At first, because of his family, he considered Hume essays moral political and literary miller career in lawbut came to have, in his words, "an insurmountable aversion to everything but the pursuits of Philosophy and general Learning; and while [my family] fanceyed I was poring over Voet and VinniusCicero and Virgil were the Authors which I was secretly devouring".
Due to this inspiration, Hume set out to spend a minimum of 10 years reading and writing. He soon came to the verge of a mental breakdownsuffering from what a doctor diagnosed as the "Disease of the Learned". Hume wrote that it started with a coldness, which he attributed to a "Laziness of Temper", that lasted about nine months.
Later, some scurvy spots broke out on his fingers. This was what persuaded Hume's physician to make his diagnosis.
Hume wrote that he "went under a Course of Bitters and Anti-Hysteric Pills", taken along with a pint of claret every day. Hume also decided to have a more active life to better continue his learning. After eating well for a time, he went from being "tall, lean and raw-bon'd" to being "sturdy, robust [and] healthful-like".
Career[ edit ] At 25 years of age, Hume, although of noble ancestry, had no source of income and no learned profession.
As was common at his time, he became a merchant's assistant, but he had to leave his native Scotland. His tenure there, and the access to research materials it provided, ultimately resulted in Hume's writing the massive six-volume The History of Englandwhich became a bestseller and the standard history of England in its day.
Hume described his "love for literary fame" as his "ruling passion"  and judged his two late works, the so-called "first" and "second" enquiries, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Moralsrespectively, as his greatest literary and philosophical achievements,  asking his contemporaries to judge him on the merits of the later texts alone, rather than the more radical formulations of his early, youthful work, dismissing his philosophical debut as juvenilia: Hume was just 23 years old when he started this work and it is now regarded as one of the most important in the history of Western philosophy.
Although many scholars today consider the Treatise to be Hume's most important work and one of the most important books in Western philosophy, the critics in Great Britain at the time did not agree, describing it as "abstract and unintelligible".
However, the position was given to William Cleghorn  after Edinburgh ministers petitioned the town council not to appoint Hume because he was seen as an atheist. However, it was then that Hume started his great historical work The History of England.
This took him fifteen years and ran to over a million words. During this time he was also involved with the Canongate Theatre through his friend John Homea preacher. Often called the First Enquiry, it proved little more successful than the Treatise, perhaps because of the publishing of his short autobiography, My Own Life, which "made friends difficult for the first Enquiry".
Hume's religious views were often suspect. It was necessary in the s for his friends to avert a trial against him on the charge of heresy.
However, he "would not have come and could not be forced to attend if he said he was not a member of the Established Church".
He had published the Philosophical Essays by this time which were decidedly anti-religious. Even Adam Smithhis personal friend who had vacated the Glasgow philosophy chair, was against his appointment out of concern public opinion would be against it.
In the following year "the Faculty of Advocates chose me their Librarian, an office from which I received little or no emolument, but which gave me the command of a large library". Hume was also a longtime friend of bookseller Andrew Millarwho sold Hume's History after acquiring the rights from Scottish bookseller Gavin Hamilton although the relationship was sometimes complicated.
Letters between them illuminate both men's interest in the success of the History. Once in England, Hume and Rousseau fell out.
Here he wrote that he was given "all the secrets of the Kingdom".
In he returned to James' Court in Edinburgh, and then lived, from until his death inat the southwest corner of St. Anyone hankering for startling revelations or amusing anecdotes had better look elsewhere.Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary were published as well, including the one by “The World’s Classics” (London, ; reprinted in ).
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. Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F Miller (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, ), xxxviii (hence- forth Essays).
The idea that Hume's project was . This edition contains the thirty-nine essays included in Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary that made up Volume I of the posthumous Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. It also includes ten essays that were withdrawn or left unpublished by Hume for various reasons.
Eugene F. Miller was Professor of Political Science at the. The Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary were included as Volume 3 of The Philosophical Works of David Hume (Edinburgh, ; reprinted in and ) and again as Volume 3 of a later edition by T.
Green and . Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary () is a two-volume compilation of essays by David Hume. Part I includes the essays from Essays, Moral and Political, plus two essays from Four vetconnexx.com content of this part largely covers political and aesthetic issues.
Part II includes the essays from Political Discourses, most of which Genre: Philosophy. Hume's ‘Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations’ (in Essays Moral, Political, and Literary (Eugene F. Miller (rev.) ed.)) – an essay which will figure in the discussion to follow – exhibits Hume's classical scholarship particularly vividly.
Some sixty-nine ancient authors are cited in the course of the essay.