This book offers the first comprehensive critical study of David Hume’s Four Dissertations of 1757, containing the Natural History of Religion, the Dissertation on the Passions, and the two essays Of Tragedy and Of the Standard of Taste. The author defends two important claims. The first is that these four works were not published together merely for convenience, but that they form a tightly integrated set, unified by the subject matter of the passions. The second is that the theory of the passions they jointly present is significantly different—indeed, significantly improved—from that of the earlier Treatise. Most strikingly, it is anti-egoist and anti-hedonist about motivation, where the Treatise had espoused a Lockean hedonism and egoism. It is also more cognitivist in its analysis of the passions themselves, and demonstrates a greater awareness of the limits of sympathy and of the varieties of human taste. This book is an important contribution to the scholarly literature on Hume’s work on the passions, art, and superstitious belief.

chapter |5 pages


part |84 pages

Part I

chapter 1|21 pages

My Design in the Present Work

chapter 2|19 pages

Some Late Philosophers in England

chapter 3|21 pages

Founded on Pain and Pleasure

chapter 4|21 pages

A Considerable Adjustment

part |139 pages

Part II

chapter 5|18 pages

The Religious Passion

chapter 6|17 pages

The First Religious Principles

chapter 7|17 pages

The Object of the Passions

chapter 8|17 pages

The Combat of Passion and Reason

chapter 9|14 pages

The Causes of the Violent Passions

chapter 10|15 pages

The Predominant Passion

chapter 11|19 pages

The Sentiments of Beauty

chapter 12|16 pages

The Laws of Criticism

chapter |4 pages