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The Imagination in Hume's Philosophy

The Canvas of the Mind

Timothy M. Costelloe

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A systematic treatment of Hume’s conception of imagination in all the main topics of his philosophy

The prominence of the imagination in David Hume’s philosophy has been recognised by generations of readers. In this rich study, Timothy Costelloe gives us the most complete picture yet of Hume’s view of imagination – and its place in his philosophy.

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List of Abbreviations
1. Hume's Imagination
2. Metaphysics
3. Morals and Politics
4. Aesthetics
5. History
6. Religion
7. Philosophy

About the Author

Timothy Costelloe is Professor of Philosophy at The College of William & Mary. He is the author of Aesthetics and Morals in the Philosophy of David Hume (Routledge, 2007), The British Aesthetic Tradition: From Shaftesbury to Wittgenstein (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and he is editor of The Sublime: From Antiquity to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2012).


Costelloe (William and Mary) offers a thorough explication of Hume’s account of the imagination. … In addition to its value for philosophers, the book will perhaps be useful to scholars of 18th-century English literature who are interested in the imagination specifically or its application to Humean thought in areas such as ethics and metaphysics. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

- M. A. Michael, Austin Peay State University, Choice

There is no more important topic in Hume's philosophy than the imagination. It is, as Timothy Costelloe shows, the creative force at the heart of every operation of the Humean mind. Every Hume scholar will learn from this admirably clear and careful study.

- James A. Harris, University of St Andrews

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