Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul: The Complete 1783 Edition David Hume

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Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul: The Complete 1783 Edition David Hume


Copyright 1995, James Fieser ( See end note for details on copyright and editing conventions. This is a working draft; please report errors.1

Links to Sections:

 Essay I: On Suicide [Not assigned]

 Essay II: On the Immortality of the Soul

Metaphysical Arguments [Required]

Moral Arguments [Optional]

Physical Arguments [Required]

 Anti Suicide: Anonymous Reply on Suicide [Not assigned]

 Anonymous Reply on Immortality [Optional]

 Rousseau's letters on Suicide [Not assigned]

Editor's Note: Hume's essays on the suicide and the immortality of the soul were completed around 1755 and printed as part of a book of essays titled Five Dissertations. When pre-release copies of Five Dissertations provoked controversy among influential readers, Hume and his printer Andrew Millar agreed to have the two essays physically removed from the printed copies. They were replaced with an essay titled "Of the Standard of Taste," and the book of essays appeared in 1757 under the title Four Dissertations. Rumors about the two withdrawn essays circulated for years, and clandestine copies appeared anonymously in French (1770) and later in English (1777). In 1783 the two essays were published more openly, and this time with Hume's name attached. Like the 1770 and 1777 publications, the 1783 publication was not authorized by Hume. Along with Hume's two essays, the anonymous editor of the 1783 edition included his own critical notes to Hume's two pieces, and excerpts from Rousseau's La Nouvelle Heloise on the subject of suicide. The contents, then, of the 1783 publication are as follows:

Preface: p. iii

Essay I. On Suicide (Hume): p. 1

Essay II. On the immortality of the soul (Hume): p. 23

Anti-Suicide (anonymous editor): p. 39

Immortality of the Soul (anonymous...