The Rise of Modern Philosophy

By Anthony Kenny | Go to book overview
Save to active project

3
Hume to Hegel

Hume

Shortly after Berkeley, in Dublin, gave the world his empiricist metaphysics, there was born in Edinburgh a philosopher who was to take empiricist principles to an anti-metaphysical extreme, David Hume. Hume was born in 1711 into a junior branch of a noble Scottish family. As the younger son of a mother widowed early he had to make his own way in the world. Between twelve and fifteen he studied literature and philosophy at Edinburgh University, falling in love, he tells us, with both subjects. He then set out to prepare himself for a legal profession, but soon gave up because, in his own words, he found 'an insurmountable Aversion to anything but the pursuits of Philosophy and General Learning'.

Despite this, he did attempt a commercial career with a sugar firm in Bristol; but four months of clerking there convinced him that a life in business was not for him. He decided to live frugally on his small inheritance, and went across to France where life in a country town need not be expensive. From 1734–7 he lived at La Flèche in Anjou, where Descartes had been educated at the Jesuit college. Making use of the college library, Hume wrote his first work, a substantial Treatise of Human Nature.

On returning to England he found some difficulty in getting this work published, and when it appeared he was disappointed by its reception. 'Never Literary Attempt was more unfortunate than my Treatise,' he wrote in his autobiography. 'It fell dead-born from the Press.' After his death, however, it was to achieve enormous fame. German idealists in the eighteenth century and British idealists in the nineteenth took it as the target of their criticisms of empiricism: they detested it, but at the same time they revered

-80-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Rise of Modern Philosophy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 356

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?