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The Life of David Hume$
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Ernest C. Mossner

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243365

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243365.001.0001

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The History of England

The History of England

Chapter:
(p.301) Chapter 23 The History of England
Source:
The Life of David Hume
Author(s):

Ernest Campbell Mossner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243365.003.0023

‘Human Nature is the only science of man’, David Hume had written in the Treatise of Human Nature, and the pronouncement forms the basis for his concern with both philosophy and history. The two are closely akin because the development of the human mind, which it is the historian's task to trace, provides the materials from which the philosopher derives the very principles of thinking and conduct. A passage in the Enquiry concerning Human Understanding emphasises these interconnexions of philosophy and history. The recognition of this essential affinity of history and philosophy is what makes Hume's History of England ‘philosophical’. Hume's intention to compose a national history arose out of his pervasive study of the ‘science of man’. The first trials in the actual composition of history were possibly made during the unhappy Annandale period, 1744–5, but could hardly have amounted to much.

Keywords:   human nature, science of man, David Hume, Treatise, philosophy, history, Enquiry, History of England, Annandale

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