HUME, DAVID

HUME, DAVID
   philosopher and historian, born in Edinburgh, the younger son of a Berwickshire laird; after trial of law and mercantile life gave himself up to study and speculation; spent much of his life in France, and fraternised with the sceptical philosophers and encyclopedists there; his chief works, "Treatise on Human Nature" (1739), "Essays" (1741-42), "Principles of Morals" (1751), and "History of England" (1754-61); his philosophy was sceptical to the last degree, but from the excess of it provoked a reaction in Germany, headed by Kant, which has yielded positive results; he found in life no connecting principle, no purpose, and had come to regard it as a restless aimless, heaving up and down, swaying to and fro on a waste ocean of blind sensations, without rational plot or counterplot, God or devil, and had arrived at an absolutely non-possumus stage, which, however, as hinted, was followed by a speedy and steady rebound, in speculation at all events; Hume's history has been characterised by Stopford Brooke as clear in narrative and pure in style, but cold and out of sympathy with his subject, as well as inaccurate; personally, he was a guileless and kindly man (1711-1776).

The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. . 1907.

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  • Hume, David — born May 7, 1711, Edinburgh, Scot. died Aug. 25, 1776, Edinburgh Scottish philosopher, historian, and economist. He conceived of philosophy as the inductive, experimental science of human nature. His first major work, A Treatise of Human Nature… …   Universalium

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