The Philosophy of David Hume

Course at IAP-PUC, Second Semester 2010, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 13.30-14.50 h, by Daniel von Wachter

Contact: - replace "ABCD" by "von-wachter". Tel. 354-1509. I am there to help you. Usually I am in the office at the IAP at least Monday till Thursday from 7.30 h. Usually it is best to send me questions by email. I will then answer by email or ask you to come.

Content of this page

Descripción del curso

David Hume put forward a world view with no causal connections, no objective values or duties, no free will, and no miracles. Hume's view and writings are still enormeously popular among contemporary anglo-saxon philosophers. We shall study and criticise Hume's book Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748).



If you want to participate, send me an email now, so that I have your email address. Between the meetings we will communicate by email, so read it regularly. I recommend that you use an email program like Thunderbird, which is much more efficient than reading email online ('webmail').

In general, participants have to attend every session. (If you want an exception, for example if you would like to do distance learning, talk to me.) You may miss maximally 2 sessions. If you miss more than 2 sessions, the course is failed. You are welcome to try the course until 12th of March and decide then whether you want to continue to participate.

The course starts at 13.30 h. Be on time.


For each session there are a few pages obligatory reading. You must study them. If for some reason you could not read them, tell me before the session. Always bring this as well as the core text (Hume's Enquiry) with you.

Besides that, there may be further readings of which you should do at least some.

Sometimes there will be a short written homework. It will not be marked, but no participant may fail to do it more than twice in the semester.

Send me written homework the day before the session (22 h) by email. If it is short (up to 1.000 words), write or paste the text in an email. If it is longer (which it usually is not) or if it contains formatting which would be lost, send it to me as a file in format ODT (OpenOffice) or PDF or RTF (if you use MS Word, save as RTF) and follow THESE instructions.


An intermediate exam (30 %) and two essays written during the semester (70%).

Half-term exam

The date of the half-term exam will be announced.

Notes for the sessions

10 August, 2010, Introuction

17 August, 2010

Obligatory reading for this session:

Further reading:


See An analysis of Hume's view of the origin of ideas by Richard Lee.


The main text for this course is David Hume's An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. Buy it as book. Bring it to each session.

Texts by David Hume

Texts by other authors

Additional internet resources

Look at all the articles on David Hume in the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) and The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP)