This is the first book to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire career of one of Britain's greatest men of letters. It sets in biographical and historical context all of Hume's works, from A Treatise of Human Nature to The History of England, bringing to light the major influences on the course of Hume's intellectual development and paying careful attention to the differences between the wide variety of literary genres with which Hume experimented. The major events in Hume's life are fully described, but the main focus is on Hume's intentions as a philosophical analyst of human nature, politics, commerce, English history and religion. Careful attention is paid to Hume's intellectual relations with his contemporaries. The goal is to reveal Hume as a man intensely concerned with the realization of an ideal of open-minded, objective, rigorous, dispassionate dialogue about all the principal questions faced by his age.
James A. Harris is Reader in the History of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of Of Liberty and Necessity: The Free Will Debate in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy (2005) and of articles on Hume, Hutcheson, Reid, Beattie, Priestley, and various themes in eighteenth-century British philosophy. He is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century (2013) and the coeditor with Aaron Garrett of Scottish Philosophy in the Age of Enlightenment, Volume 1 (2015).
Introduction; 1. Pursuits of philosophy and general learning; 2. Anatomist of human nature; 3. Essayist; 4. Achievement of independence; 5. Two years at Ninewells; 6. The start of a history of Great Britain; 7. The completion of a history of England; 8. Paris, London, Edinburgh; Afterword: death and character.