Reception of David Hume In Europe by Peter Jones

By Peter Jones

The highbrow scope and cultural effect of British writers can't be assessed regardless of their ecu 'fortunes'. those essays, ready via a world group of students, critics and translators, list the ways that David Hume has been translated, evaluated and emulated in several nationwide and linguistic parts of Europe. this can be the 1st choice of essays to think about how and the place Hume's works have been firstly understood all through Europe. They consider how early ecu responses to Hume trusted on hand French translations, and focused on his Political Discourses and his heritage, and the way later German translations enabled expert philosophers to debate his extra summary rules. additionally explored is the concept continental readers weren't capable of pass judgement on the accuracy of the translations they learn, nor did many contemplate the contexts within which Hume was once writing: fairly, they have been cause on utilizing what they learn for his or her personal reasons.

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There was Catholic Irish opposition to Hume's work, but it came later than the period Hume refers to. It centred on his account of the 1641 rebellion, responsibility for which he assigned entirely to the native Irish, whom he characterized variously as 'inhuman', 'barbarous', 'butchers' and 'savages'. His critics acknowledge the brutality of their own side, but Hume should have recognized the role and the equal brutality of the other side in igniting and compounding the hostilities. Adopting one party's propaganda to the exclusion of the other is inciting sectarian hatred and gives specious credibility to the penal laws.

Leland's interest in the psychology of unbelief makes him wary of Hume's motives. In 1757 Hume wrote to a friend visiting Dublin: 'My Compliments to Dr Leland, & tell him he has certainly mistaken my Character' (Klibansky and Mossner 1954, 43). Hugh Hamilton, FRS, a future bishop of Ossory, was perhaps the most eminent Irish churchman to criticize Hume and the first to respond to his Dialogues, 'a complete promptuary of scepticism and atheism' (Duddy 2004, 148—50). In An Attempt to Prove (1784) he recasts the cosmological argument after reviewing the disagreements between the partisans of the English theologians Samuel Clarke and Edmund Law.

It is symptomatic of Leland's perplexity that he cites the Chevalier Ramsay against Hume for a thesis that on more careful reading he could have derived from Hume himself (1: 264). Just as the first letter looks fairly broadly at Hume's philosophy, so does the last, which criticizes Hume's extension of the term 'virtue' beyond the moral context and defends some Gospel virtues that are mischievously equated with 'monkish' practices in Hume's moral philosophy (1: 360-67). The heart of Leland's critique lies in four letters on Hume's philosophy of religion.

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