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Essays. On the nature and immutability or truth, in opposition to sophistry and scepticism.

Beattie James (1776)

£1500.00  [First Edition]

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On poetry and Music, as they affect the Mind. On Laughter, and Ludicrous Composition. On the utility of Classical Learning.

First Edition. 4to. [iv], [vi], xiv, 757 pp. Original boards, paper spine (some loss). Edinburgh: for William Creech,

This subscription quarto volume, published in 1776, contains a new edition of 'On the nature and immutability of Truth, in opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism', alongside three previously unpublished essays, including 'On Poetry and Music, as they affect the Mind', 'On Laughter, and Ludicrous Composition' and 'On the Utility of Classical Learning'. The first of the essays, 'On Truth', has recieved the most attention out of the four published in this volume. The essay is seen as a "bitterly polemical attack on sceptical philosophy, in particular on David Hume, whose writings Beattie believed were undermining religion and morals. It presented a popularized version of the philosophy of Thomas Reid, to show that philosophical scepticism was contrary to common sense" (ODNB). Beattie's 'Essay on Truth' earned him the reputation as one of Hume's most persistent and virulent critics and Beattie himself "became obsessed with the belief that he was the subject of malicious attacks by supporters of Hume" (ODNB). Although the essay, first published in 1770, was met with immediate success at the time, "especially among those who saw it as a defence of religion" (ODNB), it has since tended to be ignored in modern debates on the subject. Furthermore, Beattie's frequent attacks on Hume have seriously discredited the work and tended to unduly obscure the tredmendous value of the other essays published in this volume. A very nice subscription copy, with some loss to the paper spine, uncut edges and some light foxing.

Provenance: Sir Timothy Waldo, indicated by amorial bookplate inside front cover and signature on title page.

Stock Code: 54086