Reading Hume by Peter Millican

Our very own David Hume is revered by many professional philosophers as the greatest of their number ever to write in English. His work is almost endlessly rich and stimulating to deep thought. The result is that there has sprung up a vast industry of publication on every single nuance that can be discerned from his writing. There must literally be tens of thousands of doctoral theses elucidating one aspect or another. It is with some trepidation that I venture to suggest a book which could help understand what Hume is getting at. It’s Reading Hume on Human Understanding, edited by Peter Millican (a Hume specialist at Hertford College, Oxford, and concentrates on Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748,

Here you can chuck yourself into the bracing stormy debates about meaning, induction, scepticism, belief, personal identity, causation, freedom, miracles, probability, and religious belief. If it all gets too much, do what Hume himself did – play a game of billiards, have a cup of tea, a ruddy good dinner and a laugh with friends.

If you prefer (and with a nice cup of tea) listen to the Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’ episode (45 minutes) on Hume available at the link  with Peter Millican. Also features Helen Beebee – Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham and James Harris – Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at St. Andrews. First broadcast Thursday 6 Oct 2011.

512 pages in Clarendon Press paperback edition.

ISBN 978-0198752103

David Hume, having enjoyed a jolly good stuffing and now having a laugh with friends

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