Hume: An Intellectual Biography

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

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 are fully described, but the main focus is on Hume's intentions as a philosophical analyst of human nature, politics, commerce, English history, and religion. Careful attention is paid to Hume's intellectual relations with his contemporaries. The goal is to reveal Hume as a man intensely concerned with the realization of an ideal of open-minded, objective, rigorous, dispassionate dialogue about all the principal questions faced by his age.
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About the author

James A. Harris is Professor in the History of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He is the author of Of Liberty and Necessity: The Free Will Debate in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy (2005) and of articles on Hume, Hutcheson, Reid, Beattie, Priestley, and various themes in eighteenth-century British philosophy. He is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century (2013) and the coeditor with Aaron Garrett of Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century: Volume One (2015).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Oct 6, 2015
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Pages
637
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ISBN
9781316351789
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / General
Philosophy / History & Surveys / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Philosophy in eighteenth-century Britain was diverse, vibrant, and sophisticated. This was the age of Hume and Berkeley and Reid, of Hutcheson and Kames and Smith, of Ferguson and Burke and Wollstonecraft. Important and influential works were published in every area of philosophy, from the theory of vision to theories of political resistance, from the philosophy of language to accounts of ways of governing the passions. The philosophers of eighteenth-century Britain were enormously influential, in France, in Italy, in Germany, and in America. Their ideas and arguments remain a powerful presence in philosophy three centuries later. This Oxford Handbook is the first book ever to provide comprehensive coverage of the full range of philosophical writing in Britain in the eighteenth century. It provides accounts of the writings of all the major figures, but also puts those figures in the context provided by a host of writers less well known today. The book has five principal sections: 'Logic and Metaphysics', 'The Passions', 'Morals', 'Criticism', and 'Politics'. Each section comprises four chapters, providing detailed coverage of all of the important aspects of its subject matter. There is also an introductory section, with chapters on the general character of philosophizing in eighteenth-century Britain, and a concluding section on the important question of the relation at this time between philosophy and religion. The authors of the chapters are experts in their fields. They include philosophers, historians, political theorists, and literary critics, and they teach in colleges and universities in Britain, in Europe, and in North America.
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