Philosophy and ideology in Hume's political thought

New York: Oxford University Press (1981)
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Abstract

This book was written with three aims in mind. The first was to provide a reasonably concise account of Hume's social and political thought that might help students coming to it for the first time. The second aim was to say something about the relationship between philosophy and politics, with explicit attention to Hume, but implicit reference to a general issue. The third is to offer an integrated account of Hume's thought. The book accounts for the varying interpretation of the conservative and liberalist traditions by arguing that the distinction between liberalism and conservatism had little application in mid-18th-century Britain. Hume's ideology contained elements that we should now identify as conservative and liberal respectively, and so by selective emphasis it is possible to make him seem a thoroughbred conservative or liberal according to choice. These two problems the relationship between Hume's philosophy and his politics, and the ideological character of his thought are pursued through the first and second parts of the book respectively.

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