The Infidel and the Professor (inbunden)
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Commended for Bloomberg View's "Must-Reads of 2017: From Space to Chinese Noir" 2017; Short-listed for Project Syndicate's Best Reads in 2017 (chosen by Kaushik Basu) 2017; Short-listed for
Princeton University Press
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The Infidel and the Professor (inbunden)

The Infidel and the Professor

David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

Inbunden Engelska, 2017-09-12
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The story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships--and how it influenced modern thought David Hume is widely regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as "the Great Infidel" for his skeptical religious views and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith was a revered professor of moral philosophy, and is now often hailed as the founding father of capitalism. Remarkably, the two were best friends for most of their adult lives, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships. The Infidel and the Professor is the first book to tell the fascinating story of the friendship of these towering Enlightenment thinkers--and how it influenced their world-changing ideas. The book follows Hume and Smith's relationship from their first meeting in 1749 until Hume's death in 1776. It describes how they commented on each other's writings, supported each other's careers and literary ambitions, and advised each other on personal matters, most notably after Hume's quarrel with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Members of a vibrant intellectual scene in Enlightenment Scotland, Hume and Smith made many of the same friends (and enemies), joined the same clubs, and were interested in many of the same subjects well beyond philosophy and economics--from psychology and history to politics and Britain's conflict with the American colonies. The book reveals that Smith's private religious views were considerably closer to Hume's public ones than is usually believed. It also shows that Hume contributed more to economics--and Smith contributed more to philosophy--than is generally recognized. Vividly written, The Infidel and the Professor is a compelling account of a great friendship that had great consequences for modern thought.
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"One of The Australian Review's 2017 Books of the Year" "One of The Guardian's Best Books of 2017" "Selected for Bloomberg View's "Must-Reads of 2017: From Space to Chinese Noir"" "One of Project Syndicate's Best Reads in 2017 (chosen by Kaushik Basu)" "Shortlisted for the 2018 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, Phi Beta Kappa Society" "A wonderfully written book about a beautiful friendship."---Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg View "Dennis Rasmussen . . . tells the story of Smith and Hume's bond, arguing convincingly and engagingly that there is 'no higher example of a philosophical friendship in the entire Western tradition.'"---Ruth Scurr, Wall Street Journal "Rasmussen tells an engaging and sometimes moving story of how the friendship between Smith and David Hume shaped, and was shaped by, their attempt to comprehend the rapid development of the social and political order under which we still live."---Alexander Douglas, Times Literary Supplement "Lively and accessible--of broad interest to readers in philosophy, economics, political science, and other disciplines." * Kirkus * "Masterly. . . . Easy to digest and smart. Recommended."---Mark Spencer, Library Journal "In The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought, Dennis Rasmussen . . . tells the story of their friendship well. Fourteen nicely-judged chapters take the reader through the overlapping lives of the two men, including such incidents as Hume's notorious falling-out with Rousseau, through to the natural climax of their friendship at Hume's death, and Smith's own demise 14 years later. . . . A short and lively book that sustains the interest not merely of the general reader but the specialist to the end. That is a considerable achievement."---Jesse Norman, Prospect "[Rasmussen] deftly examines not only Hume and Smith's personal relationship, but also the indispensable part that they played in shaping the Scottish Enlightenment. The result is a valuable study of the rise of the liberal tradition."---Jacob Heilbrunn, National Interest "The Infidel and the Professor is a lean, easy to digest read that is rich in interesting detail. It is anchored in weighty scholarship but not burdened by excessive demonstrations of it. . . . [Rasmussen] makes the distinctive qualities of each more evident. Pick up his book and you might find yourself agreeing with Hume that 'reading and sauntering and lownging and dozing, which I call thinking, is my supreme Happiness'."---Julian Baggini, Literary Review "What his book does offer . . . is a clearer, more exhaustive picture of the common ground that existed between the two thinkers, a map of the intersections, echoes and mirroring perspectives that connect their works. The Infidel and the Professor is written in a style that makes it accessible to non-specialists, who can discover through it the story of two exceptional and very engaging personalities. But it is also of interest for those who are already familiar with Hume's and Smith's lives and works, as it allows us to see them as part of a collective intellectual project. Above all, it reminds us of what the social sciences were originally meant to be: a broad critical reflection on the condition of human beings exposed to the bewildering transformations that modernity brought to their lives."---Biancamaria Fontana, Times Higher Education "As a total Hume fan, I enjoyed reading it, and it's a well-written book. You don't need to be an expert on either [Hume or Smith] to enjoy it, and get some flavour of the milieu of the Scottish Enlightenment."---Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist "In addition to painting a vivid portrait of the intellectual life of 18th-century Scotland, Professor Rasmussen provides a road map of the development of Smith's ideas based on his personal history and t

Övrig information

Dennis C. Rasmussen is associate professor of political science at Tufts University. His books include The Pragmatic Enlightenment. He lives in Charlestown, Massachusetts.


Illustrations ix Preface xi Acknowledgments xiii Introduction Dearest Friends 1 1 The Cheerful Skeptic (1711-1749) 18 2 Encountering Hume (1723-1749) 36 3 A Budding Friendship (1750-1754) 50 4 The Historian and the Kirk (1754-1759) 71 5 Theorizing the Moral Sentiments (1759) 86 6 Feted in France (1759-1766) 113 7 Quarrel with a Wild Philosopher (1766-1767) 133 8 Mortally Sick at Sea (1767-1775) 146 9 Inquiring into the Wealth of Nations (1776) 160 10 Dialoguing about Natural Religion (1776) 186 11 A Philosopher's Death (1776) 199 12 Ten Times More Abuse (1776-1777) 215 Epilogue Smith's Final Years in Edinburgh (1777-1790) 229 Appendix Hume's My Own Life and Smith's Letter from Adam Smith, LL.D. to William Strahan, Esq. 239 Notes on Works Cited 253 Notes 257 Index 309