By Marina Frasca-Spada, P. J. E. Kail
Impressions of Hume collects brand-new essays from prime students in several philosophical, historiographical, and literary traditions during which Hume is a canonical determine. to a couple his writings are automobiles for intuitions, difficulties, and arguments that are on the middle of up to date philosophical mirrored image; others find Hume's perspectives opposed to the history of matters and debates of his personal time. Hume's texts will be learn as hugely subtle literary-cum-philosophical creations, or as moments within the development of the ideology of modernity; those are "open" texts which current their reader with a bounty of other fabrics and inspirations.
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On instructional books available at this date, see M. L. Clarke, Classical Education in Britain 1500–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959), ch. 10; Alexander Law, Education in Edinburgh in the Eighteenth Century (London: University of London Press, 1965), ch. 6. Teaching materials are to be distinguished from primary sources, which, if studied to any extent, would exempt the young student from comparable studies at college; into the latter category would come much of the High School curriculum (Law, Education in Edinburgh, 74–81).
It shows him already interested in two related topics that he would never abandon—the ‘phenomena’ of the mind and the passions—although he has not yet written anything coherent on them. He is keeping loose notes: Would you have me send in my loose, uncorrect thoughts? Were such worth the transcribing? All the progress that I made is but drawing the Outlines, in loose bits of Paper; here a hint of a passion, there a Phenomenon in the mind accounted for, in another the alteration of these accounts; sometimes a remark upon an Author I have been reading, And none of them worth to any Body & I believe scarce to my self.
Free from the constraints of the curriculum, ‘I was after that left to my own Choice in my Reading, & found it encline me almost equally to Books of Reasoning & Philosophy, & to Poetry & the polite Authors’ (ibid. 13). This is not to say that he never exercised such choice previously; but he does seem to imply that it was by being able to pick his own reading, rather than by engaging in what he elsewhere calls ‘task-reading’, that he began to develop an enthusiasm both for philosophy and for literature, whereas at college his studies had revolved too much round ‘endless Disputes’.
Impressions of Hume (Mind Association Occasional Series) by Marina Frasca-Spada, P. J. E. Kail