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Hume Studies

Volume 42, Issue 1/2, April/November 2016

Emilio Mazza, Gianluca Mori
Pages 9-60

“Loose Bits of Paper” and “Uncorrect Thoughts”
Hume’s Early Memoranda in Context

Hume’s early memoranda continue to excite different and contradictory interpretations as to their dating, sources, and relation to the Treatise, the Essays and the Dialogues. Our interpretation is based on a double hypothesis: they are notes taken from other notes, rather than current reading notes, and many of them, as to their content, precede the composition of the Treatise. We compare Hume’s notes with their declared or hidden sources and we analyse Hume’s quotations from two of his favourite philosophical authors: Dubos and Bayle. The memoranda are revealed to be notes deemed worth transcribing, later to be put aside or to be developed. Most of them show the breadth of Hume’s youthful interests: history, politics and economics, as well as metaphysics and religion in the early eighteenth century.