David Hume (1711–1776) is one of the great philosophers. His wide-ranging thought incorporates a skeptical attack on the power of human reason along with an explanation of how the natural operations of mind and conduct generate beliefs and contribute to the formation of moral and political order. Hume suggests that we are guided less by abstract reason than by stable currents of passion, sentiment, and custom. A significant influence on his peers, including Adam Smith, and a popular figure during the Enlightenment, Hume left a profound mark on contemporary philosophers. Born in Edinburgh, he studied at the University of Edinburgh and later served as the Librarian to the Faculty of Advocates. This entry examines his major contributions, including A Treatise of Human Nature and ...

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