The Legal and Political Philosophy of David Hume

“The Legal and Political Philosophy of David Hume.” Il Politico 28, no. 4 (December 1963): 691–704.


“It is always misleading to label an age by a name which suggests that it was ruled by a common set of ideas. It particularly falsifies the picture if we do this for a period which was in such a state of ferments as was the eighteenth century. To lump together under the name of “enlightenment” the French philosophers from Voltaire to Condorcet on the one hand, and the Scottish and English thinkers from Mandeville through Hume and Adam Smith to Edmund Burke on the other, is to gloss over differences which for the influence of these men on the next century was much more important than any superficial similarity which may exist. So far as David Hume in particular is concerned, a much truer view has recently been expressed when it was said that he ‘turned against the Enlightenment its own weapons’ and that he under took ‘to whittle down the claims of reason by the use of rational analysis.'”

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