A Philosophical Exploration

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Date(s) - Saturday, July 22, 2017
10:30 am - 12:45 pm

Lit and Phil


When: Saturday 22 July 2017, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Where: The Literary & Philosophical Society (Lit & Phil), Lecture Room, 23 Westgate Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE.

Whilst in general our meetings will be held at the Lit & Phil (with a few exceptions), the room itself within the building will switch between the Lecture Room, the Loftus Room, and occasionally, the Reference (aka Silence) Room.


For a brief description of the aims of this group, please refer to: http://newphilsoc.org.uk/wpress/?page_id=20 – this would be particularly useful for newcomers.

An introduction to the theme for the session is given at the start of the meeting; it may be difficult to participate in the discussion without that context. Please aim to arrive shortly before the start time, so that we can begin the session promptly.

‘The David Hume experience’

David Hume (1711-1776) was the last of a trio of philosophers known as the British empiricists and a great influence on the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who wrote that reading Hume had awakened him from his dogmatic slumber. Hume continues to be widely read today.

He was a Scotsman who was born and died in Edinburgh but was brought up in the family home at Chirnside, near Berwick. He spent time in Paris and elsewhere in France and was for some time a friend of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, though they eventually fell out. He was a historian as well as a philosopher, and an urbane man who enjoyed dining and playing backgammon with his friends. He never succeeded in getting an academic post due to his suspected atheism.

July 22 will be the occasion for a first look at the philosophy of Hume, based on his book An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. It will deal with the question of knowledge based on experience, and the difference between relations of ideas and matters of fact.

Reading for the session

The following resources available on the internet may prove useful when preparing for the session:

The Stanford entry is here. As usual for Stanford, it is long. So for Saturday’s session, it would be useful to concentrate on Section 4 ‘Account of the Mind’. However, Sections 1-3 form an introduction to Hume’s life and works and are of general interest, so also well worth reading.


Alternatively, there is a very digestible summary of Hume at Spark Notes (below).



A contribution of £2 is requested, for those attendees who can afford it, to cover the room hire costs.

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