David Hume - Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Widely considered to be the most important philosopher ever to write in the English language, the Scottish philosopher David Hume's ideas are as profound, subtle and revolutionary as they are playful, ironic and elusive. Brave and daring to the end, and way ahead of his time, Hume's positions on various philosophical issues, paradoxical as they may seem sometimes, were based on the great power of his reasoning and the evidence he obtained from his acute observations of his own mind and the world at large.

Hume's empiricism is a devastating response to the rationalism of philosophers like Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, but his philosophical virtue, courage and honesty also led him to take the very same empiricism he endorsed to its true logical conclusion, demonstrating in the process the limits of reason and human knowledge... oh, and your non-existence too :)

The following clip is a nice excerpt of some of Hume's most important ideas (as articulated in his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding), starting with his distinction between relations of ideas and matters of fact:

Here is a short, but very good analysis of Hume's ideas by Peter Millican in a Philosophy Bites interview:

And here is a sample (again from Philosophy Bites) of the work philosophers have been doing on the idea of "laws of nature" after Hume's powerful challenge to such a notion:

Check out more fascinating entries on The Masters of Philosophy.
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