Man as he is: Politics and propriety in the thought of David Hume

Title: Man as he is: Politics and propriety in the thought of David Hume
Authors: Sheppard, K. N
Date: 2005
Abstract: This thesis considers propriety and politics in the thought of David Hume. It argues that Hume's political thought was intimately connected with his philosophical investigation of the 'science of man', first undertaken in A Treatise of Human Nature (17 39-40). It outlines how the 'science of man' progressed from Pyrrhonian scepticism to a 'mitigated' scepticism that affirmed 'common life' and moderation. A principle factor in this development was the articulation of sympathy and a philosophy of sentiment, consistent with, yet critical of, earlier philosophical traditions. This moderate scepticism was accompanied by the early articulation of Hume's enlightened scale of values---amusement, virtue, understanding, moderation. In highlighting these values this study argues that Hume be considered an establishment thinker, connecting philosophical values to a political context where stability was a mainstay of debate. Thus, the thesis complements both Duncan Forbes and J. G. A. Pocock, scholars who have argued along similar grounds that Hume's self-conceived revolution in philosophy ironically investigated the concept of revolution in political terms, but failed to give it any hearty endorsement. This study also casts light upon how Hume offered his philosophical investigations to a broader eighteenth-century audience and why an endorsement of political revolution was not to be found in this work. It suggests that the Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary represent Hume's attempt to cultivate a political culture of politeness and moderation, containing, as they do, a critique of superstition and enthusiasm, both religious and political. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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