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The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Dennis C. Rasmussen(Author)

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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.

"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"A beautifully written book, with wonderful balance, about a beautiful friendship. Recommended."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

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Book details

  • PDF | 336 pages
  • Dennis C. Rasmussen(Author)
  • Princeton University Press (14 Aug. 2017)
  • English
  • 4
  • Biography

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