chapter  20
16 Pages

The failure of the project

In Book 1 of the Treatise, Hume proceeds to demonstrate the failure of his own project. He considers some of the most central and most fundamental concepts of human thought in the light of his new Science of Man, and asks what they amount to, how the knowledge of them is arrived at, and how they fit into a rational, objective understanding of human beings and of the world. And he concludes that they don’t fit in at all. In this chapter I want to work through his treatment of some of those central concepts and examine the alarming conclusions he claims to come to about them; in the next chapter we will ask what we are supposed to learn from this analysis, and consider where his conclusions leave him – and where they leave us at the end of this book.