This is a study of the Scottish philosopher David Hume, which seeks to revise understanding of Hume's thought by investigating the distinction he made between "true" and "false" philosophy. The text traces this distinction through all Hume's writings, providing a systematic pathology of the corrupt philosophical consciousness in history, politics, philosophy and literature that characterized Hume's time. For Hume, false philosophy leads either to melancholy over the groundlessness of common opinion, or delirium over transcending it, while true philosophy leads to wisdom. By demonstrating how a philosophical method can be used to expose the political motivations behind intellectual positions, historical events and their subsequent interpretations, the author of this study seeks to revitalize Hume's thought and reveal its relevance for contemporary discussions of politics, nationalism and ideology.
Preface List of Abbreviations Pt. 1: Humean Reflections 1: Is Hume an Empiricist? 2: The Dialectic of True and False Philosophy 3: The Origin of the Philosophical Act in Human Nature 4: The Ancient Philosophy 5: Philosophy and Christendom 6: The Modern Philosophy 7: True Philosophy and the Skeptical Tradition 8: True Philosophy and Civilization 9: False Philosophy and Barbarism 10: English Barbarism: "Wilkes and Liberty!" 11: English Barbarism: "The Poor Infatuated Americans" Pt. 2: Humean Intimations 12: Hume and America 13: The Right of Resistance: A Humean Free State versus a Modern Consolidated Leviathan 14: The Right of Resistance: Secession and the Modern State 15: Preserving One's Humanity in the First Philosophic Age Notes Index