Liberty and Necessity

  • Norman Kemp Smith


There is much in the thought and wording of the two opening sections of Part iii, Book II, devoted to the subject of liberty and necessity, which suggests that they must have been composed by Hume prior to the working out of his views on causal inference, and that it has been by intercalation of later passages1 that they have come to have their present form. At least, this would explain the extreme variations in thought and terminology which characterise these sections. There may be no overt contradictions, but the general tone and forms of expression vary surprisingly in the several parts. The intercalations — if they may be so regarded — were indeed necessary. The proper location of the two sections is not that of the Treatise, namely, as bearing on the treatment of the passions, but, as is recognised in the arrangement of the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, in immediate sequence upon the section Of the idea of necessary connexion.


False Sensation General Tone Animal Spirit Continue Chain Necessitation Rule 
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Copyright information

© Norman Kemp Smith 1941

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Kemp Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK

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