Noted Hume Scholars:
Sir L. A. Selby-Bigge
Norman Kemp Smith
Charles W. Hendel
Mary Shaw Kuypers
Galvano Della Volpe
Ralph W. Church Constance Maund
Ernest C. Mossner
Rachael M. Kydd
Páll S. Árdal P. H. Nidditch
U. of Sussex
Peter Nidditch was born in London on 15 September 1928 and died in Sheffield on 12 February 1983. After attending Clifton College, he enrolled at Birkbeck College, London, where he wrote an MA thesis on Pascal (1951), and a doctoral thesis on ‘Language and Modern Logic’ (1953). He lectured at Belfast (1954-6), Liverpool (1956-9) and Bristol (1959-63), before becoming senior lecturer and then reader in the philosophy and history of science at the University of Sussex, where he chaired the Logic, History and Policy of Science division. In 1969 he became Professor of Philosophy and Head of Department at the University of Sheffield. In 1980 he received London Universitys DLit degree.
Nidditch made his early reputation in the history and philosophy of logic and mathematics, publishing mostly brief papers and a succession of textbooks. The services to the history of philosophy that marked his later years are strictly textual. From 1973 he was general editor of the Clarendon Locke Edition. His outstanding collation and edition of Lockes Essay concerning Human Understanding (1975), completed without computer assistance, baffled the philosophical establishment but transformed the status of textual scholarship in philosophy; he also established new standards for manuscript transcription. Though well read, he claimed no skills as a commentator, and he left it to others to show that textual collations can bring exegetical rewards.
Selected from M.A. Stewart, The Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Philosophers (2005), ed. Stuart Brown.
Nidditch edited the 2nd Oxford edition of the Treatise, bringing it out in 1978. Apart from correcting a number of minor textual errors, he added Humes Abstract of the Treatise, plus a ten-page section of notes on variant readings. In 1976 he published An Apparatus of variant readings for Humes Treatise of Human Nature, including a catalogue of Humes manuscript amendments (55pp).
Students of philosophy should be urged not to assume that current editions of philosophical classics are everywhere or equally reliable; and they should be led to appreciate the work
of textual scholarship (concerned with the history and establishment of texts, and the
provision of glosses and other annotations) that is necessary for the faithful preservation
and the understanding of the classics.
Review of Roland Hall, Fifty Years of Hume Scholarship: A