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David Hume (1711 - 1776)

Updated Wednesday, 30th August 2006

Introducing the 18th century Scottish philosopher, David Hume:

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David Hume

Born in Edinburgh, David Hume studied at the city’s university, but never completed his degree, choosing instead to study at home. In 1734 he travelled to France where he wrote his first philosophical work: Treatise of Human Nature (published 1739 - 1740). However, its impact at the time was minimal. It was Hume’s History of England (published 1754 - 1762) that brought him to prominence and gave him a considerable reputation as a learned man.

Like Hobbes, Hume appreciated the role that trust, and mistrust, play in the inequalities of life. But whereas Hobbes required a sovereign to ensure that trust was honoured in order to bring about the mutual benefits for society, Hume had a more positive outlook of humanity. Hume believed that human nature makes us naturally sympathetic towards one another’s concerns, which could encourage trust. In order to bring about trust with others he saw a process of reassurance as being necessary, rather than coercion.

Discover more about Hume's relevance to the philosophy of trust in  'Hume on Trust'.


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