Hume : An Intellectual Biography

3.97 (37 ratings by Goodreads)
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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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Product details

  • Hardback | 633 pages
  • 163 x 235 x 41mm | 1,020g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521837251
  • 9780521837255
  • 451,056

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Pursuits of philosophy and general learning; 2. Anatomist of human nature; 3. Essayist; 4. Achievement of independence; 5. Two years at Ninewells; 6. The start of a history of Great Britain; 7. The completion of a history of Great Britain; 8. Paris, London, Edinburgh; Afterword: death and character.
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Review quote

'Harris skillfully explores the background of Hume's economic and other essays, and indeed all of his works, describing in some depth the debates to which they contributed and the influences of Hume's own reading.' The New York Review of Books 'Harris himself writes well up to Hume's own standard, and his analyses are always clearly expressed as well as thoroughly argued. For anyone with an interest in Hume, this is now probably the place to start if not with the great man's work itself.' Hector MacQueen, Irish Legal News 'This is an excellent book. James Harris has explored not only David Hume's well-known interlocutors but also a wide range of lesser-known influences. In addition to being carefully and thoroughly researched, it is also written in a clear and engaging style, making it a pleasure to read. ... Harris's book is a long-awaited addition to the literature that will not disappoint.' Donald C. Ainslie, Global Discourse
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About James A. Harris

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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Rating details

37 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 22% (8)
4 57% (21)
3 19% (7)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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