Hume: Biography

Edited by Angela M. Coventry (Portland State University)
Assistant editor: Bridger Ehli (Indiana University, Bloomington)
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Summary This subsection contains work relating to Hume's life.
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  1. Hume’s philosophy in historical perspective Hume’s philosophy in historical perspective, by M.A. Stewart, edited with and Introduction by James A. Harris, Ruth Savage, and John P. Wright, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2022, pp. 392, $110.00 (hb), ISBN: 978-0-19-954731-9. [REVIEW]Willem Lemmens - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-8.
    1. On 30th July 2021, the historian of philosophy Michael Alexander Stewart, ‘Sandy’ for colleagues and friends, died peacefully, leaving unfinished the redaction of a volume in which he intended t...
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  2. David Hume and the myth of the ‘Warburtonian School’.R. J. W. Mills - 2023 - History of European Ideas 49 (2):200-223.
    David Hume (1711–1776) believed a ‘confederacy of authors’, brought together by the notoriously pugnacious William Warburton (1698–1779), were his most consistent and scurrilous critics. Warburton and his ‘School’ were Hume’s bêtes noires and embodied so much of what he fought against. Only there is reason to believe that the ‘Warburtonian School’ was more a useful fiction than a historical reality. The following deep dive into Humeana and the ‘stuff of anecdote’ digs up substantial conclusions about Hume’s philosophical project and context. (...)
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  3. David Hume, essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, T. Beauchamp & M. Box, eds. [REVIEW]Paul Russell - 2023 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    The new two volume edition of Hume’s Essays, Moral, Political and Literary, edited by Tom Beauchamp and Mark Box, is the first critical edition.[3] What primarily distinguishes a critical edition is that it collates the copy-text with all other editions and provides a complete record of variations in the texts. Beauchamp and Box provide readers with detailed, informative notes and annotations that describe the variations and revisions that have been made to the Essays published within Hume’s lifetime. They also provide (...)
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  4. The notorious Dr. Middleton: David Hume and the Ninewells years.Tim Stuart-Buttle - 2023 - History of European Ideas 49 (2):267-294.
    In his brief autobiography, Hume recalls how the publication of the heterodox Anglican clergyman, Conyers Middleton's Free Inquiry caused a ‘furore’ in England in 1748, whereas his own Philosophical Essays were ‘neglected’. This has secured Middleton a very marginal place in Hume scholarship. This essay argues that Middleton's importance at a crucial stage of Hume's intellectual development, during the Ninewells years (April 1749 – July 1751), was more significant than has been allowed. On his return to Ninewells, Hume reflected on (...)
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  5. Voilà un siècle de lumières!’: Horace Walpole and the Hume-Rousseau affair.Ryu Susato - 2023 - History of European Ideas 49 (2):224-242.
    In the biographies of David Hume, Horace Walpole’s name has been memorialised as the author of a forged letter assuming the identity of the King of Prussia. However, in the letter, Walpole’s scorn was directed against not only Rousseau, but also other French philosophes and, possibly, even Hume. Walpole drew a line between himself and the ‘pedants and pretended philosophers’, although he sometimes blurred the distinction between the two by considering an author or ‘man of letters’ synonymous with a ‘philosopher’. (...)
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  6. Hume's Real Riches.Charles Goldhaber - 2022 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 39 (1):45–57.
    Hume describes his own “open, social, and cheerful humour” as “a turn of mind which it is more happy to possess, than to be born to an estate of ten thousand a year.” Why does he value a cheerful character so highly? I argue that, for Hume, cheerfulness has two aspects—one manifests as mirth in social situations, and the other as steadfastness against life’s misfortunes. This second aspect is of special interest to Hume in that it safeguards the other virtues. (...)
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  7. Hume and the Royal African.Max Grober - 2022 - Hume Studies 47 (2):285-309.
    Abstract:A previously overlooked letter written by David Hume to the Comtesse de Boufflers in 1766, read alongside an unpublished letter to Hume from the British official John Roberts, sheds important new light on Hume’s views on race. The letters concern a famous episode in eighteenth-century history, the enslavement and redemption of the “African Prince,” William Ansah Sessarakoo, and his subsequent time as a celebrity in London in 1749–50. Hume’s account of these events, based on Roberts’s letter but re-shaped through a (...)
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  8. Hume: a very short introduction.Jennifer Smalligan Marušić - 2022 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (1):140-143.
    In his Hume: A Very Short Introduction, James Harris describes Hume’s shift away from systematic philosophizing and towards the writing of essays, as a genre more “suitable to the literary culture...
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  9. The great guide: what David Hume can teach us about being human and living well.Julian Baggini - 2021 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
    Provides an account of how Hume's thought should serve as the basis for a complete approach to life. Baggini interweaves biography with intellectual history and philosophy to give us a complete vision of Hume's guide to life. He follows Hume on his life's journey, literally walking in the great philosopher's footsteps as Baggini takes readers to the places that inspired Hume the most, from his family estate near the Scottish border to Paris, where, as an older man, he was warmly (...)
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  10. Hume: a very short introduction.James A. Harris - 2021 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
    David Hume, philosopher, historian, economist, librarian, and essayist, was one of the great figures of the European Enlightenment. Unlike some of his famous contemporaries, however, he was not dogmatically committed to idealised conceptions of reason, liberty, and progress. Instead, Hume was a sceptic whose arguments questioned the reach and authority of human rationality, and who put the rivalrous passions of commercial life at the centre of his theory of human -- -- itself. -- ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions (...)
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  11. Baggini, Julian, What David Hume Can Teach Us about Being Human and Living Well. [REVIEW]Álvaro Silva - 2021 - Mayéutica 47 (103):212-213.
  12. The Multifaced Hume: A Review of James Harris' Hume: An Intellectual Biography. [REVIEW]Elena Yi-Jia Zeng - 2021 - New History 32:331–42.
  13. The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought: by Dennis C. Rasmussen, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2017, xiii + 316 pp., $29.95/£24.95.Peter Loptson - 2020 - The European Legacy 25 (7-8):875-877.
    This admirable book describes the lives and friendship of two of the greatest thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment: David Hume and Adam Smith. Its account of their careers, writings and interacti...
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  14. Aprendiendo de la experiencia. Una nueva mirada sobre la interpretación de Ayer del empirismo de Hume.Sofı́a Calvente - 2019 - Mutatis Mutandis: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 13.
    Nos proponemos abordar dos aspectos poco estudiados de la contribución de Alfred Ayer a la comprensión de la filosofı́a de Hume: su consideración acerca del carácter inferencial de la percepción y su propuesta de que la experiencia tiene carácter público. En primer lugar, analizaremos cómo se ha entendido la concepción humeana de la experiencia. Sostendremos que la interpretación de Ayer contribuye a modificar la concepción privada y atomista de experiencia que usualmente se le atribuye a Hume, al afirmar que para (...)
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  15. The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought By Dennis C. Rasmussen Princeton University Press, 2017, 315pp., £24.95 (hbk) ISBN: 9780691177014. [REVIEW]Robin Downie - 2019 - Philosophy 94 (1):167-171.
  16. Précis of Hume: An Intellectual Biography.James A. Harris - 2019 - Hume Studies 45 (1):3-5.
    My purpose in Hume: An Intellectual Biography was to write the first comprehensive account of Hume's career as an author, beginning with what we know about his education at Edinburgh, and ending with "My Own Life," the brief autobiography that Hume wrote shortly before he died. Where Ernest Mossner, in his classic The Life of David Hume, was explicitly concerned with the man rather than with the ideas, I was concerned with the ideas, and the arguments, rather than with the (...)
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  17. Reply to My Critics.James A. Harris - 2019 - Hume Studies 45 (1):37-45.
    I am very grateful to Catherine Jones, Andrew Sabl, and Mikko Tolonen for taking the trouble to read my book Hume: An Intellectual Biography so carefully, and for responding to it so thoughtfully and constructively. I thank the editors of Hume Studies for the honour of having the book discussed in the journal that matters most to any Hume scholar. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers of the 2017 Hume Society Conference in Providence, and (...)
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  18. Hume as Man of Letters: Comments on Harris's Hume: An Intellectual Biography.Catherine Jones - 2019 - Hume Studies 45 (1):7-16.
    James A. Harris suggests, in the "Introduction" to his intellectual biography of David Hume, that we should take seriously Hume's description of himself in "My Own Life," composed in April 1776, as having intended from the beginning to live the life of a man of letters. Harris uses the category "man of letters" both to characterise Hume's intellectual career as a whole, and to address the question of how to approach the relation between Hume the philosopher, Hume the essayist, and (...)
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  19. The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought. By Dennis C. Rasmussen. Pp. xiii, 316, Princeton/Woodstock, Princeton University Press, 2017, $24.95. [REVIEW]Patrick Madigan - 2019 - Heythrop Journal 60 (2):321-322.
  20. "Loose Bits of Paper" and "Uncorrect Thoughts": Hume's Early Memoranda in Context.Emilio Mazza & Gianluca Mori - 2019 - Hume Studies 42 (1):9-60.
    What are the Early Memoranda?1 When were they written? What are their sources? What is their purpose and their relation to Hume's works? These questions, usually addressed separately, are in fact tightly interwoven: they require an articulated response that embraces them all. Our response could be summarised as follows: far from being current reading notes, or even less the exhaustive diary of Hume's intellectual experience, the Early Memoranda are most likely second-tier texts, or—as James Harris recently conjectured—"notes taken from notes."2 (...)
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  21. All Style, No Substance? Comments on Harris's Hume: An Intellectual Biography.Andrew Sabl - 2019 - Hume Studies 45 (1):17-27.
    This meticulous work, the product of years of scholarship and effort, contains a great deal to admire. It rightly rejects the frame, still common in philosophy departments, of Hume as someone who, after writing the Treatise, "abandoned philosophy" for the sake of lesser inquiries like politics and history. It convincingly portrays Hume's vast classical learning as devoted, in the end, to modern conversations and modern purposes, not to the pursuit of ancient wisdom as directly therapeutic for individuals. It deftly places (...)
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  22. Hume as an Essayist: Comments on Harris's Hume: An Intellectual Biography.Mikko Tolonen - 2019 - Hume Studies 45 (1):29-36.
    I was a Leverhulme visiting fellow at the University of St Andrews in 2012–13 when James Harris was working on Hume: An Intellectual Biography. At the time, I expected his book to take decades to finish due to the daunting nature of the task. During those years there were periods when we sat daily discussing Hume at the National Library of Scotland and its near vicinity. As a result of those conversations, we also wrote and published an article about Hume (...)
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  23. Remarks on Dr. Adam Smith's letter to Mr. Strahan, on the death of David Hume esq. E. M." - 2018 - In Dennis C. Rasmussen (ed.), Adam Smith and the Death of David Hume: The Letter to Strahan and Related Texts. Lanham: Lexington Books.
  24. James A. Harris, Hume: An Intellectual Biography , pp. xiii + 621.Marc Hanvelt - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (2):237-241.
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  25. A letter to Adam Smith Ll.D. on the life, death, and philosophy of his friend David Hume esq., by one of the people called Christians. [REVIEW]George Horne - 2018 - In Dennis C. Rasmussen (ed.), Adam Smith and the Death of David Hume: The Letter to Strahan and Related Texts. Lanham: Lexington Books.
  26. My own life.David Hume - 2018 - In Dennis C. Rasmussen (ed.), Adam Smith and the Death of David Hume: The Letter to Strahan and Related Texts. Lanham: Lexington Books.
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  27. Observations relative to the late David Hume, esq. Idem" - 2018 - In Dennis C. Rasmussen (ed.), Adam Smith and the Death of David Hume: The Letter to Strahan and Related Texts. Lanham: Lexington Books.
  28. Critical Notice: James A Harris’ Hume: an intellectual biography, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.Anders Kraal - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (1):129-141.
    James Harris’s new Hume biography offers, among other things, ‘a series of conjectures as to what Hume’s intentions were in writing in the particular ways that he did about human nature, politics, economics, history, and religion’. The biography is particularly novel with regard to Hume’s intentions when writing about religion, which, Harris argues, were rather benign. Harris fails to appreciate the full extent of the difficulties attaching to his series of conjectures, however.
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  29. The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought. [REVIEW]Eugenio LeCaldano, Paul Russell & Dennis Rasmussen - 2018 - Rivista di Filosofia 109 (3):477-500.
    In this brief review it is not possible to do full justice to this lively and lucidly presented study. It is fair to say, I think, that the considerable merits of this work rest primarily with its intelligent and reliable selection of material, most of which is already available and familiar. This study does not aim to challenge any orthodoxies or present new material of some significant kind. Rasmussen does not need to do this since his real concern is to (...)
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  30. The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friend- ship that Shaped Modern Thought Review. [REVIEW]Paul Russell - 2018 - Rivista di Filosofia 109 (2):477-00.
    In this brief review it is not possible to do full justice to this lively and lucidly present- ed study. It is fair to say, I think, that the considerable mer- its of this work rest primarily with its intelligent and reliable selection of material, most of which is already available and familiar. This study does not aim to challenge any orthodox- ies or present new material of some significant kind. Rasmus- sen does not need to do this since his (...)
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  31. The Composition, Reception, and Early Influence of Hume’s Essays and Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.Mark G. Spencer - 2018 - In Andrew Valls & Angela Coventry (eds.), David Hume on Morals, Politics, and Society. Yale University Press. pp. 241-264.
  32. The Friendship between Two Great Thinkers: David Hume and Adam Smith.Viorel Tutui - 2018 - Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Practical Philosophy 10 (2):611-618.
  33. The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought by Dennis C. Rasmussen.Richard J. Fry - 2017 - Hume Studies 43 (1):146-148.
    In reading biographies or accounts of figures with which one agrees and sympathizes, there is a tendency that needs to be avoided, that is, of over -identifying with the figures in question and of too closely mapping one's own life and aspirations onto them.As such, there is some risk involved for a person like me in reading about the friendship between David Hume and Adam Smith. Dennis C. Rasmussen's excellent new volume, The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, (...)
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  34. David Hume the polymath.Tom Pye - 2017 - History of European Ideas 43 (6):683-686.
  35. The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought.Dennis C. Rasmussen - 2017 - Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
    The story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships—and how it influenced modern thought David Hume is widely regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as “the Great Infidel” for his skeptical religious views and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith was a revered professor of moral philosophy, and is now often hailed as the founding father of capitalism. Remarkably, the two were best friends for (...)
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  36. TWO. The Wild Philosopher.John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky - 2017 - In John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky (eds.), The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. Yale University Press. pp. 8-36.
  37. NINE. Poses and Impostures.John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky - 2017 - In John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky (eds.), The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. Yale University Press. pp. 128-148.
  38. ONE. An Enlightenment Quarrel.John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky - 2017 - In John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky (eds.), The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. Yale University Press. pp. 1-7.
  39. SIX. A Stone’s Throw from Paris.John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky - 2017 - In John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky (eds.), The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. Yale University Press. pp. 90-103.
  40. THIRTEEN. How Philosophers Die.John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky - 2017 - In John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky (eds.), The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. Yale University Press. pp. 198-210.
  41. THREE. The Great Scot.John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky - 2017 - In John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky (eds.), The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. Yale University Press. pp. 37-55.
  42. TWELVE. So Great a Noise.John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky - 2017 - In John T. Scott & Robert Zaretsky (eds.), The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. Yale University Press. pp. 183-197.
  43. Hume: an intellectual biography. [REVIEW]John P. Wright - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (4):823-832.
    This is a review article discussing James Harris’s excellent study of David Hume’s full philosophical career including his epistemology, moral philosophy, politics, economics, religion, and history. Harris argues against a common view that in his later writings Hume is merely working out and developing the ideas of his Treatise of Human Nature. He even argues that Hume’s two Enquiries are substantially new works and not mere recasting of his youthful Treatise. Harris writes that philosophy for Hume is a ‘a style (...)
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  44. Humean Eyes ('one particular shade of blue').Angela Coventry & Emilio Mazza - 2016 - Cogent Arts and Humanities 3 (1).
    Why do Humean eyes matter? The subject of David Hume’s eyes and face leads us into some unexpected curiosities connected with events in his life and written works. We outline the scholars’ propensity to describe the face of their favourite philosopher and spread upon it their personal reading of his life and writings. We ask questions about portraits, their resemblance to the original as a standard of beauty. We survey eighteenth-century physiognomy, and the humourous paradox of the “fat philosopher,” both (...)
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  45. Life & Correspondence of David.John HillBurton, Alexander FlHay & Charles W. G. Howard - 2016 - Wentworth Press.
    This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain (...)
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  46. Hume: a ciência do homem.João Paulo Monteiro - 2016 - Discurso 46 (1):39-46.
  47. James Harris, Hume: An Intellectual Biography.Wade L. Robison - 2016 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (2):137-151.
  48. Hume: An Intellectual Biography by James Harris. [REVIEW]Paul Russell - 2016 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 1.
    James A. Harris's biography of David Hume is the first such study to appear since Ernest Mossner's The Life of David Hume (1954). Unlike Mossner, Harris aims to write a specifically "intellectual biography", one that gives "a complete picture of Hume's ideas" and "relates Hume's works to the circumstances in which they were conceived and written" (vii). Harris's study turns on four central theses or claims about the character of Hume's thought and how it is structured and developed. The claims (...)
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  49. Hume: An Intellectual Biography.James A. Harris - 2015 - New York, New York: Cambridge University Press.
    This is the first book to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire career of one of Britain's greatest men of letters. It sets in biographical and historical context all of Hume's works, from A Treatise of Human Nature to The History of England, bringing to light the major influences on the course of Hume's intellectual development, and paying careful attention to the differences between the wide variety of literary genres with which Hume experimented. The major events in Hume's life (...)
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  50. Sympathy and affectuum imitatio: Spinoza and Hume as social and political psychologists.Rudmer Bijlsma - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):1-18.
    This paper starts from the premise that Spinoza and Hume share a realisticnaturalistic approach to human nature. Human beings are finite parts of nature, and as such strongly interdependent creatures. This interdependence is reflected in the central social-psychological principles that Hume and Spinoza employ, respectively sympathy and affectuum imitatio. Both principles show the immediacy of the communication of passions, and the strong influence that other people’s passions exert over our own affective lives. Central to this paper are an analysis and (...)
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