- Notes on Contributors
- Locke and His Influence
- Newton and Newtonianism in Eighteenth-Century British Thought
- The Idea of a Science of Human Nature
- Rhetoric and Eloquence: The Language of Persuasion
- Perception and The Language of Nature
- Language and Thought
- The Understanding
- Mind and Matter
- Passions, Affections, Sentiments: Taxonomy and Terminology
- Reason and the Passions
- Liberty and Necessity
- The Government of the Passions
- Self-Interest and Sociability
- Moral Judgment
- The Nature of Virtue
- Practical Ethics
- The Pleasures of the Imagination and the Objects of Taste
- The Faculty of Taste
- The Pleasures of Tragedy
- Genius and the Creative Imagination
- The Origin of Civil Government
- Forms of Government
- Reform and Revolution
- Luxury, Commerce, and the Rise of Political Economy
- Causation, Cosmology, and the Limits of Philosophy: the Early Eighteenth-Century British Debate
- Philosophy, Revealed Religion, and the Enlightenment
- Religion and Morality
Abstract and Keywords
The chapter discusses the conceptions of the faculty of ‘the understanding’ in eighteenth-century British philosophy and logic. Topics include the distinction between the understanding and the will, the traditional division of three acts of understanding and its critics, the naturalizing of human understanding, conceiving of the limits of human understanding, British innatism and the critique of empiricist conceptions of the understanding, and reconceiving the understanding and the elimination of scepticism. Authors discussed include Richard Price, James Harris, Zachary Mayne, Edward Bentham, Isaac Watts, Dugald Stewart, John Norris—as well as Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Reid.
John P. Wright is Professor of Philosophy at Central Michigan University. Recent publications include Hume’s ‘A Treatise of Human Nature’: An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009); “Scepticism, Causal Science, and ‘The Old Hume’”, Journal of Scottish Philosophy, 10.2 (2012); "Hume on the Origin of 'modern Honour': a study in Hume's philosophical development", in Religion and Philosophy in Enlightenment Britain, edited by Ruth Savage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).
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