Taking the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume as its subject, this book breaks new ground in focusing its lens on a little-studied aspect of Hume’s thinking: his understanding of money.
George Caffentzis makes both an intervention in the field of monetary philosophy and into Marxian conceptions of the relation between philosophy and capitalist development. He vividly charts the ways in which Hume’s philosophy directly informed the project of ‘civilizing’ the people of the Scottish Highlands and pacifying the English proletariat in response to the revolts of both groups at the heart of the empire.
Built on careful historical and philosophical detective work, Civilizing Money offers a stimulating and radical political reading of the ways in which Hume’s fundamental philosophical claims performed concrete political functions.
A touchstone of the Enlightenment dispute between rationality and religious belief, David Hume’s essay “Of Miracles” has elicited much commentary from proponents and critics ever since it was published over 250 years ago. Alexander George’s lucid and sustained interpretation of Hume’s essay provides fresh insights into this provocative, occasionally elusive, and always subtle text. The Everlasting Check will be read with interest by both students new to Hume and seasoned scholars.George does justice to the letter and spirit of Hume’s essay, explaining the concepts and claims involved, making intelligible the essay’s structure, and clarifying remarks that have long puzzled readers. Properly interpreted, the essay’s central philosophical argument proves to be much hardier than Hume’s detractors suggest. George considers a range of objections to Hume—some recent, some perennial—and shows why most fail, either because they are based on misinterpretations or because the larger body of Hume’s philosophy answers them.Beyond an analysis and defense of Hume’s essay, George also offers a critique of his own, appealing to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s thoughts on magic and ritual to demonstrate that Hume misconstrues the character of religious belief and its relationship to evidence and confirmation. Raising a host of important questions about the connection between religious and empirically verified beliefs, George discusses why Hume’s master argument can fail to engage with committed religious thought and why philosophical argumentation in general often proves ineffective in shaking people’s deeply held beliefs.
A clarifying examination of Gilles Deleuze’s first book shows how he would later transform the problem of immanence into the problem of difference
Despite the wide reception Gilles Deleuze has received across the humanities, research on his early work has remained scant. Experience and Empiricism remedies that gap with a detailed study of Deleuze’s first book, Empiricism and Subjectivity, which is devoted to the philosophical project of David Hume. Russell Ford argues that this work is poorly understood when read simply as a stand-alone study on Hume. Its significance only becomes apparent within the context of a larger problematic that dominated, and continues to inform, modern European philosophy: the conceptual constitution of a purely immanent account of existence. While the importance of this debate is recognized in contemporary scholarship, its genealogy—including Deleuze’s place within it—has been underappreciated. This book shows how Deleuze directly engages in an ongoing debate between his teachers Jean Wahl and Jean Hyppolite over experience and empiricism, an intervention that restages the famous encounter between rationalism and empiricism that yielded Kant’s critical philosophy. What, Deleuze effectively asks, might have happened had Hume been the one roused from his empirical dogmatic slumber by the rationalist challenge of Kant?
The eighteenth-century Scottish empiricist David Hume has been regarded as a notorious enemy of religion. Still, his discussion of religion is systematic, sophisticated, and sustained. Focusing mainly on two of Hume’s works, the relatively neglected Natural History of Religion and the more widely read Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Keith Yandell analyzes Hume’s treatment of a subject that he described as "a riddle, an enigma, an inexplicable mystery." In so doing, he explores the relationships between Hume’s philosophy of religion and his general philosophy.
Hume’s "evidentialism," applied to religion, can be summed up by saying that it is unreasonable to accept a religious belief unless one has evidence for it. Since it is also Hume’s view that there is no evidence for any religious belief, he concludes that no one is ever reasonable in accepting a religious belief. Yandell examines the explanations that Hume gave for such acceptance in Natural History of Religion. Addressing the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, he compares Hume’s views to those of such authors as Herbert of Cherbury and Bishop Joseph Butler, traces changes in Hume’s theory of meaning, and discusses the ontological and cosmological arguments and Hume’s treatment of the problem of evil. Yandell then considers other lesser known writings by Hume that are relevant to his philosophy of religion.
Marking the tercentenary of David Hume's birth, Annette Baier has created an engaging guide to the philosophy of one of the greatest thinkers of Enlightenment Britain. Drawing deeply on a lifetime of scholarship and incisive commentary, she deftly weaves Hume’s autobiography together with his writings and correspondence, finding in these personal experiences new ways to illuminate his ideas about religion, human nature, and the social order.Excerpts from Hume’s autobiography at the beginning of each chapter open a window onto the eighteenth-century context in which Hume’s philosophy developed. Famous in Christian Britain as a polymath and a nonbeliever, Hume recounts how his early encounters with clerical authority laid the foundation for his lifelong skepticism toward religion. In Scotland, where he grew up, he had been forced to study lists of sins in order to spot his own childish flaws, he reports. Later, as a young man, he witnessed the clergy’s punishment of a pregnant unmarried servant, and this led him to question the violent consequences of the Church’s emphasis on the doctrine of original sin. Baier’s clear interpretation of Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature explains the link between Hume’s growing disillusionment and his belief that ethics should be based on investigations of human nature, not on religious dogma.Four months before he died, Hume concluded his autobiography with a eulogy he wrote for his own funeral. It makes no mention of his flaws, critics, or disappointments. Baier’s more realistic account rivets our attention on connections between the way Hume lived and the way he thought—insights unavailable to Hume himself, perhaps, despite his lifelong introspection.
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