Hume's Essay's on Happiness.

The second volume of Hume’s Essays, Moral and Political (1742) includes a set of four pieces on the sects, that naturally form themselves in the world. These essays, ”The Epicurean,” “The Stoic,” “The Platonist,” and”The Sceptic,” refer to the ancient philosophical schools, but their main purpose, according to Hume, is to describe four different ideas ofhuman life and ofhappiness.’ There is little discussion of these works in the Hume literature, but Hume himself seemed to be rather fond of them? Although several early essays were dropped from later editions, this set reappears in every version of the Essays. Hume also investedunusual care in crafting these essays, “polishing the sentences with such precision,” according to Green and Grose, “that the subsequent editions made scarcely an alteration in their language.” In this article I will argue that these essays do play a significant role in Hume’s overall philosophical strategy, and that a close reading of them helps us fill out important aspects of Hume’s moral philosophy.

Main Author: Immerwahr, John.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Published: 1989
Online Access: