BiographyThanks to an aptitude for mathematics, I was lucky enough to get a place to study mathematics and philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford. As the years there went by, I ended up doing less of the former and more of the latter, focusing entirely on philosophy in my fourth year, and then - following a year pretending to study music and learn German in Munich - returning to take the BPhil. My philosophical interests have always been broad; my undergraduate thesis was on Plato's metaphysics and aesthetics, my BPhil thesis was on contemporary philosophy of language (specifically conditionals), and my doctorate was on David Hume's philosophy of emotion. I continue to work on the philosophy of language, but for the most part my studies focus on early modern (especially British) philosophy, which - thanks to the range of debate at that time - satisfies my generalist leanings but within realistic bounds.
My early interest in mathematics has evolved into an interest in computer science, which manifests itself in my philosophy of language research and in my work in digital humanities. In between taking the BPhil and my doctorate, I worked as a research officer at the Leeds Electronic Text Centre, providing technical support for humanities research projects. Since finishing my doctorate, I have carved out a somewhat similar role for myself back at Oxford, alongside teaching and outreach work. I created Hume Texts Online while at Leeds, which has grown over ten years to include a complete set of Hume's published works. I have just started work on much more ambitious project, English Philosophical Texts Online, which aims to provide digital editions of a broad canon of works from Hobbes to Mill, alongside tools for performing sophisticated searches and stylometric analysis.
I currently live in with my wife and our three year old daughter, in my wife's home town of Barcelona.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Early Modern Philosophy; Moral Philosophy; Philosophy of Art; Philosophy of Emotion; Philosophy of Language; Philosophy of Religion
When not at work these days I am mostly playing with my daughter Sofia (pictured). I used to play music and write vaguely silly songs (see my YouTube page), but I haven't had much time for that lately.
Published: Jul 01, 2011 by The British Journal of Aesthetics
Authors: Amyas Merivale
The principle with which Hume accounts for the pleasure that we take in tragic drama is placed in its theoretical context, and the various metaphors that he uses in describing it are examined. These metaphors are brought to bear on a controversy concerning the result of the principle for the subordinate passion. It is argued that, while Hume's considered position should have been that this passion is destroyed, it is likely that Hume did not consider the question very carefully.
Published: Nov 01, 2009 by Hume Studies
Authors: Amyas Merivale
Hume's Dissertation on the Passions appears at first to be merely a précis of Treatise Book 2. I argue that it is more, by showing how Hume's view of the indirect passions is modified in the later work. In the Treatise, he views them as simple impressions; in the Dissertation, they are complex perceptions, part impression and part idea. I also argue that Hume's account of the origin of the indirect passions only works on this later view, and suggest that this is why he changed his mind.
Published: Dec 17, 2015
Dr Henry Merivale defends Hume's position as the most important Philosopher in history during the Balloon debate at the 2015 OUP Philosophy festival. Hume went on to win the vote, but alas OUP didn't post the videos of the final.