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Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey

A Treatise of Human Nature

A Treatise of Human Nature
David Hume

It may seem like it should be easy to get college freshmen interested in Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature. I mean, here’s a fellow who was an ornery bastard in his day, and even as a relatively young man, was taking a philosophical piss at his elders, his church, the school system, and all of the dead white guys whose books he had to read. And, brilliantly, he did so by beating them at their own game — if he were a modern-day hip-hopper, he’d be laying down the harshest dis tracks Scotland and France had ever heard. And the shit would be tight. He’d have them beat on style and content, and would still have the good sense to put the mic down and buy everybody 40’s when he was through clowning them. I mean, this mother could M.C.
But for some reason, I was largely unsuccessful in convincing my freshmen of this bare, obvious fact. All they see are the big words and “connexion” spelled with an X, and they put the book down and give up. Isn’t this the same generation who watch the X-Games, play on the X-Box, and eat X-treme gorditas at Taco Bell? But throw some “X-treme necessary conneXion” into an argument against causality, and they don’t know what to do. Is that whack or what?
So yeah — Hume is an analytic ninja. He lays down logic so tight that if it were a boa constrictor, my brain would be dead by now. He sends Cartesians crying for their mommies and feels no remorse. Shit, he even plays backgammon. How cool is that?

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