An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Additional Summary

David Hume


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Further Reading

Bailey, Alan, and Daniel O’Brien. Hume’s “Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding”: Reader’s Guide. London: Continuum, 2006. Introductory overview, aimed at undergraduate students and general readers. Discusses the philosophical background, key themes and concepts, critical reception, and influence of Hume’s work.

Buckle, Stephen. Hume’s Enlightenment Tract: The Unity and Purpose of “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.” New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. A commentary on An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by a leading Hume scholar. Buckle explicates Hume’s arguments and places the work within its historical and intellectual context and its relationship to Enlightenment thought.

Noxon, James. Hume’s Philosophical Development. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1973. Compares Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature and An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.

Olshewsky, Thomas M. “The Classical Roots of Hume’s Skepticism.” Journal of the History of Ideas 52, no. 2 (April-June, 1991): 269-288. Interprets Hume’s work through an analysis of skepticism on the basis of the Stoic philosophy of Sextus Empiricus.

Radcliffe, Elizabeth S., ed. A Companion to Hume. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2008. Collection of twenty-eight essays interpreting the various aspects of Hume’s philosophy. The numerous references to An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding are listed in the index.

Read, Rupert, and Kenneth A. Richman, eds. The New Hume Debate. Rev. ed. New York: Routledge, 2007. The “debate” concerns Hume’s ideas about the existence of causes and objects. Traditionally, scholars considered him to be a skeptic regarding these matters, but many modern critics now regard him as a “skeptical realist.” This collection ofessays provides various interpretations of the “new Hume,” with numerous references to An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.

Stumpf, Samuel E. Philosophy: History and Problems. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1977. Stumpf’s chapter on empiricism in Britain is one of the clearest explanations of the issues and responses that form the context of the philosophies of a trio of thinkers—John Locke, George Berkeley, and Hume. An understanding of the first two is essential to grasping the importance of Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.