On Translating Locke, Berkeley and Hume into English

Jonathan Bennett, Dec 08, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Locke, Berkeley, Hume was the second text in philosophy I read (Decartes's Meditations was the first). It has a significant influence on my thinking, especially the Hume (and resonated well after years of reading science fiction, where many of the same themes were explored and analyzed). I read it in the original, which did slow me down. I found it helped to read it aloud, to get a sense of the cadence and timbre. (I really recommend this for reading Hobbes as well). You don't have to read the whole thing, just enough to get it right when you read to yourself. Take your time; these were careful men, precise in word and thought. So while I see the benefit of 'translating' Locke, Berkeley, Hume I do wonder what part of the understanding is lost in the exercise. Anyhow, this essay is from 1994 but is still relevant, and Jonathan Bennett is one of the authorities in modern (1600-1900) philosophy.

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